Heartbreak of Susan’s MS drug plea

MS sufferer Susan Garrity of South Wingfield
MS sufferer Susan Garrity of South Wingfield

A SOUTH WINGFIELD woman who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS) has made an impassioned plea for access to a drug which could relieve her suffering.

The East Midlands Specialist Commissioning Group (EMSCG) has said that there should be no routine prescribing of Sativex – a form of medical cannabis which is used to alleviate pain – on the grounds of ‘poor cost-effectiveness’.

Despite Susan Garrity’s neurologist’s requests that she receive Sativex, she has been refused twice.

Susan, 59, said: “I have tried every other treatment going for spasticity and nothing works. I was excited when I saw Sativex had been licensed – it gave me another treatment option, but I have been refused and I’m not sure why. I see my granddaughter playing in the garden and she shouts at me to chase her, but I can’t – it breaks my heart. The decision is disappointing and I’m upset and frustrated.”

Jayne Spink, director of policy and research at the MS Society, said: “The EMSCG has fundamentally misunderstood how this drug would be used in practice and their conclusions about the cost are built on shaky foundations. This decision means that many people will now face a future in which they must unnecessarily continue to live with the distressing consequences this often devastating symptom of MS.”

An EMSCG spokeswoman said they were in the process of developing a collaborative commissioning policy for the use of Sativex in MS for the East Midlands. She said: “The views and opinions of the MS Society will be taken into account when a decision is made on the future development and finalising of this policy over the coming months.”

Susan was diagnosed with MS in 2000.

She said: “I just want to be able to try it and see I have tried everything else and nothing works.

“I know I can’t be cured but it could help to ease the symptoms.”