“The fight doesn’t stop until everyone is safe!” That’s what my friend from Australia, Sarah Mulligan said over a year ago when we were trying to convince the Australian health minister to fund Soliris for aHUS patients. That held true back then and it holds true now.
A big battle was won in Australia on December 17, 2015 when the PBAC recommended aHUS patients be allowed to continue their Soliris treatments for another 12 months (24 total months including this past year) and their Health Minister Sussan Ley announced that she will follow their recommendation! Thanks to all those who signed the petitions and sent emails. You made a difference!
This is great news but only temporary as our Australian friends will be faced with the same problem at the end of 2016. In addition, those who are on dialysis do not receive Soliris and therefore cannot get a kidney transplant. So while the news was great, it is short term and does not include everyone.
Please help me send a message to Sussan Ley thanking her for this major decision, but asking her to make this long term and to include those on dialysis. Our friend Anne-Sophie Van Turenhoudt from Belgium had been in intense negotiation with her health minister and on December 23, 2015 she finally won the fight for 22 patients on dialysis to receive Soliris. I believe we can use Anne-Sophie’s amazing advocacy to convince Sussan Ley that dialysis patients in Australia should also receive this drug.
Here my email to Sussan Ley with help from the president of aPSGA, Kerri Grey. Feel free write your own email or use mine in its entirety.
The Honorable Sussan Ley, MP,
I write to congratulate and thank you for the recent decision to extend access to Soliris to people in Australia suffering from aHUS for a further 12 months. I am very relieved that the PBAC made this recommendation and extremely grateful that you have heeded their recommendation as your decision to do so will not just save lives but also save the quality of life of your fellow Australians who suffer from this devastating disease.
While I am relieved that these aHUS patients have another 12 months access to treatment, this decision does not change the criteria that will mean that these patients will still be facing the same risks this time next year. I urge you to consider altering the criteria so that Australian aHUS patient’s lives are not put at risk in 12 months.
I also urge you to consider those on dialysis and in need of a kidney transplant. This group of Australian aHUS patients is requiring a transplant because they did not have access to Soliris when they got sick and they therefore lost their kidney function. These patients are generally not considered for a transplant because of the high risk of the aHUS recurring and therefore causing the transplanted kidney to also fail. The body produces antibodies after receiving someone else’s organ; it is these antibodies that trigger the immune system to become active, which is what triggers an aHUS response. The newly donated kidney is vulnerable so it is imperative that Soliris is available for patients pre and post transplant. Due to lack of available donated organs in Australia I can not comprehend why you would put a gift such as a donated organ at risk.
On December 23rd, my friends in Belgium finally won their fight to have Soliris funded for patients on dialysis and requiring a transplant. Their Health Minister Maggie De Block finally understood why the decision needed to be made to protect the lives of aHUS sufferers requiring a transplant in Belgium (see link).
Once again I thank you for your decision to give aHUS patients who have been receiving Soliris for the last 12 months another 12 months. You are saving lives and keeping many from suffering kidney damage that will force them to need dialysis. However, please remember this is only a short term fix if the criteria is not altered so that these patients don’t have to come off treatment again in 12 months time. Also, please don’t forget about those left behind who need this medicine to get a kidney transplant, stop dialysis, and get their lives back. You have the power to save their lives.
Thank you for your consideration and compassion.