The Treat Me Right campaign from the MS Society in the UK was recently shortlisted for this year’s voluntary sector campaign Public Affairs Award. The campaign was launched in April 2014 during MS Week to raise awareness for the importance of providing the right treatment at the right moment for MS patients.
At the time the campaign was launched, data from a 10,000-person MS survey from 2012 revealed that thousands of MS patients were not receiving care. Poor access to information about treatment opportunities and options, ignorance regarding which healthcare professionals they should visit, and insufficient knowledge about MS drugs were some of the worrying facts. This same survey revealed that 6 out of 10 people suffering with MS in the United Kingdom were not taking any medicines to improve their condition, slow its progression, or even lighten symptoms, and some of these patients were eligible for it. 1 in 5 patients had not consulted their neurologist in the last year.
The Treat Me Right campaign earned widespread support and about 8,500 people signed up to help, along with 200 politicians from the UK who pledged their support. The campaign representatives requested some changes in the guidelines for MS from the UK’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) that were heard thanks to sustained pressure from the MS community and the enormous amount of media coverage.
The access to Sativex and Fampyra, progressive MS treatments, were not granted by NICE since they were deemed too expensive. However, the Treat Me Right leaders believe it was a flawed assessment and they are continuing the pressure to encourage NICE to conduct a more thorough evaluation.