We work through the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) and All Wales Medicine Strategy Group (AWMSG) to ensure access to effective drugs and treatments for people with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
We also lead the Prescription Charges Coalition group of 40 organisations campaigning to secure exemption from prescription charges for everyone with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and other long-term conditions wherever they live in the UK.
Getting the right medication has been hugely important to me in that it has allowed me to regain control of my life. It is great to know that, going forward, more people with IBD will reap the benefits of these treatments as I have done.
Access to medicines
NICE, the SMC and the AWMSG all play an important role in deciding which treatments are considered to be cost-effective and should therefore be available on the NHS.
We work to ensure that the difference these treatments may make to people with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis is fully recognised and understood by those making the decisions. We do this through submissions and consultation responses, based on the evidence provided by people with IBD and nominating patient experts to the appraisal committees.
We have been delighted to see recent decisions ensure that a wider range of treatment options are available to people with IBD. The patient voice has been acknowledged as a key factor in this decision-making process and we have been proud to support patient experts and to represent personal evidence from people with IBD in recent drug appraisals.
Our research shows that prescription charges are a barrier to people with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis collecting and taking the medicines they need to keep well. This can lead to worsening health and affect ability to work.
As lead organisation for the Prescription Charges Coalition since 2012, we have worked to increase the momentum and impact of this campaign. The membership of the coalition has doubled over this time and our reports, based on surveys of thousands of people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and other long-term conditions have been widely quoted in the media and by politicians. Over 4,000 people have contacted their MPs on the issue and more than 20,000 have supported an e-petition.
In England, it is acknowledged that the criteria for medical exemption from prescription charges are outdated, illogical and arbitrary. Yet there has been no commitment to addressing this. In Northern Ireland, there are initial proposals to reintroduce prescription charges.
We will continue to campaign for everyone with IBD and other long-term conditions to be exempt from prescription charges wherever they live in the UK – and we need your help to do so.