Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Post-code lottery on MS drug...

There are some interesting figures out today showing the post-code lottery that constitutes the prescription of Sativex, the drug for multiple sclerosis patients.

The medicine, derived from cannabis, is administered as an oral spray and is used to alleviate pain and other distressing symptoms (more info here).

The Department of Health figures show that 128 out of 152 primary care trusts (PCTs) prescribed the drug between August 2010 and March 2011.

But out of those, 45 PCTs prescribed less than five items of Sativex in the entire period. Meanwhile the likes of Cumbria Teaching PCT prescribed 68 items and Hampshire, 70 items.

Many PCTs say the drug, which costs £11 a day, is not worth the costs, though doctors claim it’s the only medicine that can help some people.

Financial challenges facing the NHS are bound to exacerbate the situation.

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