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08 Dec 2021

Durkan welcomes access to life-changing Spinal Muscular Atrophy treatment

Durkan welcomes access to life-changing Spinal Muscular Atrophy treatment

Mark H Durkan: "The price of good health cannot be quantified and I have no doubt that access to Risdiplam will enhance the quality of life for so many people here."

SDLP Foyle MLA, Mark H Durkan, has welcomed confirmation from the Department of Health, that Risdiplam will be used to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)

Mr Durkan, who is Chair of the All Party Group on Muscular Dystrophy, and campaigners have fought fervently to see this treatment approved for use in Northern Ireland.

Risdiplam is a syrup that can be taken at home and is the first non-injectable treatment for the condition.

SMA is a progressive neuromuscular condition affecting the nerves in the spinal cord controlling movement and can cause paralysis, muscle weakness and progressive loss of mobility.

Mr Durkan said: “I’m pleased that this life-changing drug has finally been given the green light.

“This is something which I, as Chair of the APG on Muscular Dystrophy and campaigners, have worked hard to progress in recent years.

“I wrote to the Health Minister Swann last year urging his sign-off on this important and potentially life-changing treatment for children, young people and adults who live with this muscle wasting condition on a daily basis. All of whom have waited anxiously in the interim waiting for this approval.

“I must pay tribute to the many campaigners including Michaela Hollywood, who have never let up the fight to access this life-changing treatment.

“Hearing from people like Michaela, who are living with SMA, and how their condition affects them and what Risdiplam could offer them, has no doubt been vital in bringing us to this point.

“The price of good health cannot be quantified and I have no doubt that access to Risdiplam will enhance the quality of life for so many people here.”

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