PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Multiple sclerosis affects about 400,000 people in the U.S. causing numbness, vision problems, pain and mobility issues.
This new MS treatment comes with a hefty price – $65,000 a year. It will be on the market in the next two weeks.
Mike Miller was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis almost 10 years ago. It started with changes in his vision.
“It took a few years, and I went numb from the waist down,” said Miller.
He is one of the first patients in the country to receive the new FDA approved drug called Ocrevus. The drug treats relapsing MS, which is the most common form and also primary progressive MS, a severe form of the disease. This is first drug ever approved for that.
“We use words like, ‘game changer,'” said Dr. Aaron Boster with Ohio health Riverside Hospital.
Mulitiple sclerosis happens when the immune system attacks and damages the central nervous system. The new drug targets an immune cell involved in the disease.
“It ends up massively decreasing how often people have MS attacks, massively decreasing the new spots that form on the brain, and slowing down the progression of their disease and that last point is something we have never been able to do,” said Boster.
Steve Beanblossom is also receiving the drug. He was diagnosed in 1986 and is now mostly confined to a wheelchair.
“Just slowing down the progression, if nothing else it will allow you to do things that you are doing now but longer,” said Beanblossom.
This new treatment also has Miller looking forward to the future.
Camping, and playing more with the grandkids, and having fun,” said Miller.
The new MS drug was given a breakthrough status by the FDA to speed it thru the approval process. It’s made by Roche which expects sales to top $4 billion a year.