Cyprus Mail

MS sufferers call for greater access to new drugs

New drugs for multiple sclerosis patients are urgently needed and should be supplied by the government regardless of the cost, the multiple sclerosis association said on Wednesday.

Speaking on the occasion of World Multiple Sclerosis Day, the head of the association Savvas Christodoulou said that around 2,000 people suffer from the degenerative disease of the brain and spinal cord in Cyprus, though a lack of patient records means the exact numbers are not known.

Christodoulou stressed the association was very concerned about the delay in introducing new drugs.

“The system of introducing new drugs is long delayed and that is very unpleasant for patients who depend on our therapies, and the inclusion of new drugs in the state catalogue should be reviewed in order to access newly approved therapies as soon as possible,” he said.

“However expensive these medicines, if administered correctly, they will not burden the state budget, as disability benefits will not have to be paid.”

When a drug exists and can be used to slow the progression of a disease and provide a better quality of life for the patient, then it is the duty of the state to help, he added.

He explained that a re-evaluation of specific medicines has been one demand in their negotiations with the health ministry and free MRI diagnostic tests for all multiple sclerosis another.

Patients receive some free treatment either in the private sector, in public hospitals or at the Cyprus Institute of Neurology & Genetics.

The head of the association thanked the labour ministry for an annual state subsidy which covers part of their expenses.

Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou assured multiple sclerosis sufferers and their families of the ministry’s support.

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