BUSINESS QUESTION – DRUGS FOR MS SUFFERERS – 21 July 2005
Dr Julian Lewis: I think the Leader of the House will be sympathetic to my request for a statement when the House returns. It is about the 8,500 multiple sclerosis suffers who are desperately waiting for the validation of a drug called AIMSPRO, which has been trialled for the last few years. Changes in medical guidelines have resulted in its withdrawal and, as a result, those who have witnessed great improvements in their condition now feel all the symptoms returning. Will the Leader of the House do all that he can to look into this matter before the House returns? It is obviously very cruel when those whose condition has improved greatly see their one chance of such improvements becoming permanent being put into reverse.
[The Leader of the House of Commons (Geoff Hoon): Every Member of this House is well aware of the suffering that this appalling disease causes – often to friends and family – and of the importance of appropriate treatment. But the hon. Gentleman and other Members know that the availability of prescribed drugs is determined wholly independently by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which is independent of Government and makes appropriate clinical judgments in the light of the appropriate medical evidence. It is right that that independent approach to this difficult and often sensitive issue should continue.]