Affordable Indian drugs could cut sclerosis treatment cost

November 13th, 2011 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 13 (IANS) Treatment for auto-immune disease multiple sclerosis (MS) that affects the brain and spinal cord and afflicts three out of every one lakh people in the country and millions across the globe may get affordable generic drugs made in India, experts said here Sunday.

“The drugs for MS are very expensive anywhere in the world. What we are thinking is to talk to Indian pharmaceutical companies that manufacture cost-effective generic drugs that provide relief for certain symptoms of MS,” said Lawrence Steinman, chair of Multiple Sclerosis International Federation’s (MSIF) International Medical and Scientific Board.

The auto-immune disease affects the central nervous system showing varied symptoms depending on the severity of the attacks that a patient suffer.

“Certain drugs such as gemfibrozil for type two diabetes and drugs such as prozac can help provide relief to MS patients also. They can be a healthy alternative to the expensive MS drugs we use otherwise,” said Steinman, professor of neurology and neurological sciences and pediatrics from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Even as researchers had come up with treatment and management for the disease, experts said causes of the disease were yet to be confirmed.

“In MS patients, the body attacks its own cells and tissues. We know the triggers for MS. But what is the root cause of these triggers is yet to be known,” said M.V. Padma, professor of neurology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here.

The disease primarily attacks youths during the most productive years of their lives and is managed with exercise and medications that help delay the progression of the disease by controlling its symptoms.

“Multiple sclerosis may not be life threatening, but it’s certainly life changing. In India people don’t even know about the disease, so there’s an added emotional burden for families managing it,” said Bipasha Gupta, national secretary, Multiple Sclerosis Society of India.

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