Essential medicines for MS: Improving access

We are happy to announce a major milestone in our collaboration with the MS International Federation (MSIF) to improve access to disease modifying therapies (DMTs) for people with MS.

The Review Group has partnered with MSIF, the Bologna WHO Collaborating Centre in Evidence-Based Research Synthesis and Guideline Development and the McMaster GRADE Centre to support an application to add MS treatments to the World Health Organisation (WHO) essential medicines list (EML). The EML is important as a formal recognition of MS as a global health concern, as a support to make MS treatments available in low-resource settings, and as a tool for awareness and advocacy. 

Read more about it on the MSIF website here and here.

Lancet Neurology has highlighted the application in their March Editorial ‘Approval by WHO of the MSIF application will be a crucial first step to ensure that people with multiple sclerosis will be able to access appropriate treatment options in LMICs’. Read the editorial here.

The application is available online from the WHO. The WHO EML Expert Committee will assess the application 24-28 April 2023 and the outcome should be announced by June 2023. In support of the application, the Review Group has contributed to two independent, multi-disciplinary and international panels appointed by MSIF: the MS Off-Label Task Force (MOLT) and the MS Essential Medicines Panel (MEMP).

In particular, the review group informed the panels’ judgements by providing systematic reviews and quantitative analysis of the available evidence to which the panel contributed to by defining outcomes and health state utility values relevant for people with MS and clinicians.

This work has led to several Cochrane Reviews that are published or in later stages of preparation:

·        Immunomodulators and immunosuppressants for progressive multiple sclerosis: a network meta‐analysis

·        Immunomodulators and immunosuppressants for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: a network meta-analysis (Forthcoming update)

·        Adverse effects of immunotherapies for multiple sclerosis: a network meta‐analysis

·        Rituximab for people with multiple sclerosis

·        Azathioprine for people with multiple sclerosis

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