Multiple Sclerosis is “an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS)...In MS, myelin is lost in multiple areas, leaving scar tissue called sclerosis. These damaged areas are also known as plaques or lesions.” It is a debilitating disease, one that robs its victims of their health and, sometime, life.
It is also, generally, treatable and manageable. Medications and protocols exist that help those with MS function, contribute, and enjoy life.
That medication, however, doesn’t come cheap. Annual costs range from $5,000 to over $20,000. Most health plans cover at least part of this expense, and “big pharma” has programs to help ease that burden, as well.
At least, that’s the case in the good ole U S of A.
Across the pond, however, the outlook for those with MS just got bleaker:
“Patients with multiple sclerosis are being told that they cannot have drugs to prevent their disease from getting worse because the NHS cannot afford them.”
In fact, according to the Times, some patients have been told that they may have to wait a year before they can be treated, and others have even been bumped off the waiting list.
But the Times isn’t the only broadsheet with bad news:
“Standards of patient care will drop and the financial crisis facing the NHS worsen if a planned 10 per cent cut in the funding of medical training goes ahead, doctors' leaders said yesterday.”
That’s from the Telegraph, another British paper. It seems that the much-vaunted National Health service (NHS) is facing a major funding crisis:
“(S)enior figures in strategic health authorities (SHAs) and the deaneries have been warned at meetings with DoH officials that their budgets for 2006-07 are likely to be cut. A letter seen by The Daily Telegraph from an SHA to the directors of finance of 10 primary care trusts and seven NHS trusts warns them to plan on the basis that their budgets will be cut by 10 per cent.” (ibid)
Apparently, “universal” means “everyone suffers.”