MS patient loses access to drug after condition worsens

Morning Talk 14/08/2018
Photo: Getty.

An Auckland man with multiple sclerosis has lost access to a life-enhancing medication after his condition worsened.   

Brendan Rochford used to use MS drug Tysabri, which is funded by the Government’s drug buying agency Pharmac.

But when he lost the ability to walk 500m without assistance, he no longer met Pharmac’s criteria for the drug because his condition had progressed too far.

I could go blind, I could go deaf, I could lose my power of speech

“Once you can’t walk five hundred metres, they’ll take you off the drug. The problem is that, with MS, often people’s lower limbs are affected, so that walking thing, there’s got to be quite a few people that meet that criteria,” he told RadioLIVE’s Mark Sainsbury.

He says there is no doubt that if he can’t take Tysabri, he will suffer the consequences.

“I could go blind, I could go deaf, I could lose my power of speech. There are hundred and hundreds of things that could happen.”

Mr Rochford estimates that the medication costs between $25,000 and $30,000. Nevertheless, he argues that he still is contributing to the New Zealand economy.  

Listen to the full interviews with Brendan Rochford and Helmut Butzkueven above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.