There is hope that the drug fampridine may become available for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) after a senior MP wrote to the health secretary Sajid Javid to urge him to make it available.
Dame Margaret Hodge took action after one of her constituents Steven Brook received fampridine in a clinical trial and saw his walking improve markedly, but his health declined after the trial ended and he was no longer able to have the drug, because it is not available on the NHS in England. It is available on the NHS in Scotland and Wales. This is because the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) says fampridine doesn’t represent value for money, but the equivalent bodies in Scotland and Wales do recommend it.
Fampridine is a potassium channel blocker. It works by stopping potassium leaving the nerve cells which have been damaged by MS. It’s been shown to improve walking and reduce the risk of falls.
Charities are now calling for the postcode lottery to end, and for the drug to be available to all People are able to get private prescriptions, but the drug can cost between £200 and £600 a month.
Nice is updating its guidance on MS treatment in 2022, and charities and patients are hoping the drug will become free on the NHS in England. That is expected in 2022.
Source: MS-UK 10 August 2021