Media Reports Highlight MS “Postcode Lottery” in Access to Medication

Coinciding with MS Awareness Week, several media outlets are reporting on the apparent imbalance in access to information about available drugs which combat the effects of MS.

The BBC has a feature detailing how MS patients are missing out on drugs which quotes several statistics from the MS Society’s recently-published survey report:

  • Only 40% of people eligible for drugs to combat multiple sclerosis in the UK are actually taking them.
  • Someone living in Northern Ireland with MS was twice as likely to be taking a disease-modifying treatment (DMT) than someone with the condition in Wales (68% versus 30%).

  • Access to treatment in Scotland and England was only a little higher at 36% and 40%.
  • People with MS who felt they had enough information about medicines were 32% more likely to be taking a DMT.
  • Those with access to a specialist MS nurse or neurologist were more than twice as likely to be taking the appropriate drugs.

An open letter was published in The Telegraph yesterday, signed by dozens of public figures including Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Sally Gunnell, Eddie Izzard and David Tennant, which states,

As people whose lives are affected by MS, we urge the Government to stop this lottery and ensure people have fair access to the treatments and services they need, when they need them, wherever they live.

Members of Harrow MS Therapy Centre use a range of different drugs and treatments, and often share information and exchange findings as part of the important social aspect of the Centre.