Wider access to drugs for MS sufferers

Multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers will have wider access to treatments as a result of an agreement by government drug-funder Pharmac with Bayer New Zealand.

People with MS currently have access to funded treatments with defined starting and stopping criteria.

Now, the stopping criteria will be changed and options will be available for some people to stay on treatment for longer or switch to a another class of treatment if there is an increase in their relapse rate.

"The aim of the criteria is to target funded treatment to people most likely to benefit," Pharmac medical director Dr Peter Moodie said.

"The amended criteria will give more flexibility for patients to continue treatment for longer if there is a possibility that a different agent will give more protection from the progression of the disease," he said.



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