In an effort to highlight the urgent need for improved access to medicine and treatment for the management of multiple sclerosis (MS), an experimental pop-up MSunderstood Café was opened last week on Exchequer Street, Dublin 2, to give customers a small taste of the daily challenges and debilitating symptoms faced by people living with MS.
Everything in the café, including the menu boards, coffee mugs and furniture, was designed to create a challenging experience and to give customers a unique insight into the lives of those living with MS: the simulated environment was created with PwMS to ensure that all aspects of the café were as true to life as possible.
New research was launched to coincide with the opening, which found that 84 per cent of adults believe it unacceptable that patients in Ireland have worse access to new and innovative medicines than patients in any other country in western Europe, while over 1 in 10 (11 per cent) adults surveyed claim that they, or someone in their family, have been unable to access medicine due to delays.
The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland (MS Ireland), in partnership with Roche, has called for change, demanding that the Government improves the market access system, stating; “People with MS (PwMS) need, expect and deserve quick access to new and effective treatments through a fair and sustainable system”.
A new website entitled PatientsDeserveBetter.ie was also launched today to help those affected by MS demand quick and better access to new medicine.
Ava Battles, Chief Executive, MS Ireland said, “MS Ireland believes that PwMS should have access to the right treatment at the right time. This may seem like a very basic demand, and one that it would be hard to refuse, but the truth is that this is not the situation for many people in Ireland today. By opening the doors to the MSunderstood Café, we hope we have helped customers understand the reality of living with MS, and realise how crucial speedy access to treatment is for PwMS”.