Brenda, whose husband Mark was diagnosed with MS more than 18 years ago, has rallied the community behind her call for FAMPYRA® (fampridine), an MS treatment that treats mobility issues, to be included on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
The treatment is to be considered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) at their upcoming March meeting. The public commentary period for the PBAC March meeting is open until February 12, 2014.
On 29 January 2014, Brenda presented the 10,000 strong petition to Victorian Senator Scott Ryan, who has offered to table the petition in Federal Parliament.
Brenda, a resident of Sunbury, Victoria, said she is hopeful the campaign will demonstrate the groundswell of support from within the MS community for FAMPYRA.
“Most MS medications focus on slowing the progression of the disease so that people can live fuller, healthier lives for longer,” Brenda said.
“There really are few treatment options that assist people with MS who experience mobility problems, especially those with a progressive form of MS. At the moment it currently costs more than $5,300 for a 12 month course. That places it out of reach for so many people with MS that it could potentially help.”
Brenda first began collecting signatures supporting the inclusion of FAMPYRA on the PBS 12 months ago when the treatment was unsuccessful on its first attempt seeking listing on the PBS.
“I’ve seen first-hand the difference the treatment has made to people’s lives and it was clear to me that I had to do everything I can to ensure it succeeded the second time around,” she said.
Chief Executive Officer of MS Australia Debra Cerasa commended Brenda on her advocacy and said there is clear evidence linking mobility among patients with MS and quality of life.
“The reaction to Brenda’s campaign clearly shows that mobility is a big issue among people affected by MS,” Ms Cerasa said.
“Mobility issues make it hard for people with MS to complete simple daily tasks that can make such a big difference in their lives.”
Any person affected by MS with experience of FAMPYRA is welcome to make a submission online via the Department of Health website: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/PBAC_online_submission_form.