Stevenage MS sufferer’s concern Brexit will disrupt vital medication supply

PUBLISHED: 08:28 09 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:18 09 January 2020

Stevenage mum Emily Barbet was diagnosed with mutliple sclerosis in 2017 and is concerned Brexit could lead to a lack of supply of her vital medication. Picture: Courtesy of Emily Barbet.

Stevenage mum Emily Barbet was diagnosed with mutliple sclerosis in 2017 and is concerned Brexit could lead to a lack of supply of her vital medication. Picture: Courtesy of Emily Barbet.

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A multiple sclerosis sufferer has spoken out about her fears that her vital medication will no longer be available after Brexit.

Emily Barbet, who lives in Stevenage, was diagnosed with MS in February 2017 after coming down with a heavy cold and subsequently experiencing a complete loss of sensation from the chest down.

MS is a condition that affects your brain and spinal cord. The coating that protects your nerves - myelin - is damaged and disrupts messages travelling along nerve fibres. They can slow down, become distorted or not get through at all, causing symptoms including blurred vision and problems with movement.

Emily says her medication is manufactured in southern Ireland and costs the NHS £1,200 a month. The 37-year-old said: "When we're no longer part of the European Union, the cost could increase and the NHS might reconsider the use of it. That's already happened once before. About 18 months ago, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence looked at removing a lot of medication due to cost. The plan was to only offer one drug to MS sufferers.

"The drug I was on before my current medication didn't work. If there's only one MS drug on offer, it won't work for all sufferers and will be a nightmare for a lot of us."

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Emily - who previously had to inject herself three times a week with a drug that proved ineffective - now takes one tablet once a day. She said: "Without it, my symptoms include severe fatigue, complete loss of sensation from the chest down, altered eyesight, pain and muscle spasms.

"MS had a huge impact on my life, but my current medication has pretty much stopped it in its tracks. I still get fatigued, but nowhere near as much as I did.

"This tiny tablet is keeping me, me - and I'm scared about what the future holds.

"The drug company has asked what medication I have left. They didn't indicate they are running out, but I'm concerned because they've never asked before.

"Knowing where my medication comes from, I can only foresee problems."

An MS Society spokesman said: "The outcome of the election makes it extremely likely Boris Johnson will be able to pass the withdrawal agreement he negotiated with the EU. Until we know the final trading arrangements, it's difficult to tell whether there'll be extra costs or delays for medicines."

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