The Risk-sharing Scheme is the Scheme that was introduced in 2002 to ensure the availability of the first line disease modifying drug therapies - beta interferon and glatiramer acetate - on the NHS to people with certain types of multiple sclerosis.
The drugs covered by the Scheme are:
- Avonex (interferon beta-1a)
- Betaferon (interferon beta-1b)
- Copaxone (glatiramer acetate)
- Rebif (interferon beta-1a)
Under the Scheme, anyone with relapsing remitting MS, or with secondary progressive MS in which relapses remain a dominant feature, and who meet the prescription criteria laid down by the Association of British Neurologists (ABN) 2001 is eligible for NHS treatment. Any decision to start or stop treatment must be based on clinical reasons, not on the cost of the treatments to the NHS. The legal framework for the Scheme is enshrined in Health Service Circular 2002/004. In December 2011, the Department of Health issued a further communication that reminded all NHS organisations that their obligations under Health Service Circular 2002/004 still apply.
The Risk-sharing Scheme was set up in 2002 by the Department of Health following an assessment by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which judged the drugs not to be cost effective. The 'risk' element of the Scheme involves a sharing of the financial risk between the NHS and the participating pharmaceutical companies. In addition to enter the Scheme all companies had to reduce their product prices to ensure they were cost effective as assessed by the NICE model.
The ongoing effectiveness of the drugs was clinically monitored in a proportion of people on the Scheme. This research element involves in excess of 5,000 people and ran for ten years.
Positive interim results from major UK study on MS drugs
Results of the analysis of the 6 year data of the Department of Health (DH) MS Risk-sharing Scheme (RSS), published in the Lancet Neurology today, show that the disease modifying drugs Avonex, Betaferon, Copaxone and Rebif are cost effective and are clinically effective in reducing the progression of the disease in people with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS).
Disease modifying drugs
If you are considering treatment with one of the disease modifying drugs for relapsing MS, this book will help you to understand how the drugs work and to have informed discussions with your health team about your treatment options.
Disease modifying drugs (DMDs)
DMDs are a group of treatments for people with relapsing MS which reduce the number and severity of any relapses you might experience.
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Last updated: December 2016
Last reviewed: April 2015
This page will be reviewed within three years