MS drug rejected over cost to HSE

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Ireland says it is disappointed that an expert group failed to recommend a life-changing drug be made available through the HSE because it costs too much.

The National Centre for Pharmaeconomics (NCPE) report found the total lifetime costs for Tecfidera to the HSE are an estimated €226,738 per patient.

The tablet provides an alternative to painful injection for patients with the common form of the disease.

There are around 8,000 people living with chronic progressive MS in Ireland with about 250 cases diagnosed every year.

The annual cost per patient of Tecfidera based on the manufacturer’s price and the intake of 2 tablets per day is just over €14,700 and according to the NCPE, the HSE’s gross spend on the drug would be €5.1m in year one, rising to €26.4m in year five. Its report states Tecfidera “represents a convenient alternative to injectable therapies” and reduces the rate of relapses.

The HSE said it would be considering the findings.

MS Ireland CEO Ava Battles said: “We believe people with MS should have access to all and any appropriate licensed treatments that would improve or assist in the management of their condition.”


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