Photo: Stethoscope

NICE drops plans to restrict MS treatment options in England and Wales

Today the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) announced their final decision about the future of six disease modifying therapies (DMTs) for MS. And they've recommended that almost all continue to be available on the NHS.

This is fantastic news and a direct result of objections from our MS community. Back in December, NICE proposed removing five DMTs on the basis they weren't cost effective and other available treatments have a similar clinical effect. With your help, we told NICE why we disagreed with this decision and how important having different options is for people with MS.

What have NICE recommended today?

NICE are now recommending the following treatments continue to be made available to new and existing patients on the NHS:

  • Avonex (interferon beta-1a)
  • Copaxone (glatiramer acetate)
  • Extavia (interferon beta-1b)
  • Rebif (interferon beta-1a)

Plegridy (peginterferon beta-1a) will be appraised separately and we'll monitor it closely.

The only DMT that will no longer be available to new patients is Betaferon (interferon beta-1b). But anyone considering taking Betaferon can still take Extavia, which is a different brand of the same drug.

This won’t affect anyone currently taking Betaferon or Plegridy

Everyone with MS who is on these treatments now will still be able to take them. If you live in Scotland this decision won't affect you. And Northern Ireland will decide whether to follow this decision in the near future

This wouldn’t have happened without you

We're delighted NICE have reconsidered their initial decision. But this wouldn't have happened without you sharing your experiences and telling us why having access to these treatments is so important.

The strong voice of the MS community meant we could make a successful case in our response to NICE. Having a wider choice in treatments helps people with MS find the DMT that best suits their condition and lifestyle.

As part of our Treat me Right campaign we'll keep campaigning to make sure everyone with MS can get the right treatments at the right time.