MS patients to pay up to €400 for ‘crucial’ drug

Fampyra had been provided free for 2½ years under clinical trial by manufacturer Biogen

Although Fampridine, known commercially as Fampyra, is not covered by Health Service Executive-funded drug schemes, it has been provided free to patients for the past 2½ years under a clinical trial by the manufacturer, Biogen. Photograph: Biogen

Although Fampridine, known commercially as Fampyra, is not covered by Health Service Executive-funded drug schemes, it has been provided free to patients for the past 2½ years under a clinical trial by the manufacturer, Biogen. Photograph: Biogen

Tue, Jul 1, 2014, 09:44

Multiple sclerosis patients will have to pay up to €400 per month from today for a drug to improve mobility which was previously provided free of charge.

Although Fampridine, known commercially as Fampyra, is not covered by Health Service Executive-funded drug schemes, it has been provided free to patients for the past 2½ years under a clinical trial by the manufacturer, Biogen.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland has estimated that the cost of Fampyra, which treats the symptoms of walking impairment in MS sufferers, will be between €225 and €400 per month for each patient.

“This ongoing cost would be prohibitive for many people with MS who have been receiving the treatment for free up to this point,” MS Ireland chief executive Ava Battles said.

MS Ireland is calling on the HSE to make Fampyra available to the estimated 8,000 people with MS in Ireland through one of its drugs payment schemes.

The drug has not been covered up to now because the National Centre for Pharmaco-economics (NCPE) concluded in 2012 that it was not cost-effective, at an estimated price of €7,000 per patient per year.