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health | 12.04.2019

MS Sufferer: “How Much Pain Do I Need To Be In?”

An MS patient calls out for help, not just for himself, but others like him. Cannabis is the only painkiller that works, but the cost is out of reach.

An MS sufferer is crying for help, hoping that people will listen. For him, cannabis medicine is the only treatment that helps ease his pain, but he can’t get it.

A life filled with unimaginable pain

Warren Edney suffers from a rapidly progressing form of Multiple Sclerosis, one for which traditional painkillers have little effect. Once he was an active worker but now lives on a small sickness benefit. His life is one of constant pain.

 On some days, the pain is so bad I feel that the muscles in the back of the legs pull away from the, like it’s ripping away from the bone. The muscles tighten up so hard it feels like it’s going to snap. – Edney

A high price for freedom from misery

The 44-year-old has been given the go-ahead to use Sativex by Pharmac but is holding back, not because of fear, but because of finances. The pharmaceutical price tag for the medicine is over $1,200 a month, a price that his fixed disability income simply cannot afford.

Pharmac, the agency in New Zealand that decides which drugs to publicly fund, can choose to foot the entire bill for the medication in extreme circumstances, but says that Warren’s situation is not one of them, citing that there are other alternatives available. His neurologist, Dr. Ian Rosemergy disagrees.

The speed of his disease progression, the degree of disability that has resulted in a short space of time and his limited life expectancy are in my view out of keeping with other patients.

There’s a clear need. He’s in a care facility, he can’t break the law. So the only option is to go for Sativex. He has the prescription, now he just needs the public’s help in fundraising for him. – Dr. Rosemergy

Fighting for more than himself

A crowdfunding page has been set up to help Warren Edney, along with 4 others. Estimates put the number of patients in New Zealand that use Sativex at around 100, but far more would use the medicine if they could afford it.

How much pain do I have to be in before people will take notice? – Edney

Is the pharmaceutical industry charging too much for medicine that comes from a plant that anyone could grow? Should this valuable medicine be made more available to those who need it? Would it be more affordable if New Zealand just legalized cannabis, and patients could get medical relief directly from the plant? Share you thoughts on social media or in the comments below.

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