Wednesday, April 16, 2008

When an orphan drug is a patient's only hope

From the Globe and Mail:
Denise Halpenny's biggest fear is losing use of her left hand when she quits taking the drug for multiple sclerosis that she can no longer afford.

She and her husband Scott, a high school teacher, have struggled with the possibility. They've decided that if her hand goes, the mother of three will have to leave their family home here and move into a long-term care facility.

Multiple sclerosis, which struck Halpenny in 1986, has already robbed her of her ability to walk and taken away use of her right arm.

"Things will change dramatically for me," she said, fighting to hold back tears.

What frustrates the 49-year-old as much as the disease are bureaucratic rules that mean she has to come up with the money for the drug Zenapax, although the cost is equivalent to other MS drugs that are covered by the province. ...more

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