Dr Doug Brown, head of biomedical research at the MS Society
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Pill for MS patients made available to patients

19 April 2011 Last updated at 10:01 BST

The first pill that could help relieve the early stages of multiple sclerosis is being made available.

It offers an alternative to those failing on the current treatments of injections and hospital infusions.

Trials showed the drug, named Fingolimod, halved relapse rates among some patients.

It is estimated that 100,000 people in the UK have MS.

The NHS advisory body, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), is now reviewing the drug to assess the cost effectiveness of the new treatment. Its recommendations will decide if the drug will be made freely available to NHS patients in England. It costs approximately £20,000 a year to treat a patient.

Sam Sheppard, who has had MS for five years, joins BBC Breakfast together with Dr Doug Brown, head of biomedical research at the MS Society.