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MS drug trial helps sufferer walk again

Thursday 4th October 2018
A trial of a drug NICE refused to licence for use on the NHS last month has made a major positive impact on the health of a severe MS sufferer.
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A multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferer has been able to walk again after taking the drug Ocrelizumab as part of the only current trial of the medication currently taking place in the UK. 

Gary Campbell, aged 30, had to give up his job as a bricklayer in Caol, near Fort William, as the most severe form of the condition - primary progressive MS - took hold. He has often been bedridden and in constant pain, the Press and Journal reports.

However, after starting the trial, his condition has gradually improved. He has not had to visit a hospital in more than two months and is now able to walk again. 

Mr Campbell said he did not want to go so far as to call Ocrelizumab "a miracle drug", but said it has transformed his life. 

Indeed, such has been the success of his treatment that fundraising efforts to raise money for him to receive stem cell treatment in the US have been wound down.

The results may go some way towards altering the current situation concerning the usage of the drug, which is not currently available on the NHS in England and Scotland. 

Morna Simpkins, Scotland Director for the MS Society, observed: “At present, there is only one licenced treatment for people with Primary Progressive MS and it’s not currently available on the NHS in Scotland.

"In Mr Campbell’s case, we can clearly see the impact that access to treatments can have - not only in managing his MS but in improving his overall quality of life."

NICE and the Scottish Medicines Consortium are both assessing the drug to decide whether it can be used on the NHS, a spokesperson for NHS Highland told the paper.

The ongoing assessment of the drug comes after NICE refused to licence it for use on the NHS last month. This decision was widely criticised due to the fact that the drug is used in 65 countries, and a petition was swiftly launched aimed at overturning the decision. 

It is possible the experience of Mr Campbell may impact on the chances of the drug being licensed in future.

Written by Martin Lambert

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