A drug that will help the most severely affected patients with multiple sclorosis has been approved for use in Scotland.
The Scottish Medicines Consortium, which licences new treatments in Scotland, said that the drug Fingolimod would be available from this week.
It comes only months after the SMC had refused to allow the drug to be available on prescription despite it being available in England and Wales.
In March, the SMC had told the drug's manufacturers Novaris UK, they would have to reduce the cost before they could approve it.
Fingolimod is already available in more than 60 other countries.
Following re-negotiations with the drug company, the SMC said the drug was now more "cost effective".
– Spokesperson, Scottish Medicines Consortium
We're pleased to be able to approve fingolimod as a value for money medicine for use within the NHS in Scotland. The company introduced a scheme which reduced the cost of the medicine and played a key role in making the medicne cost-effective. The decision means that those patients with multiple sclerosis who will benefit from this medicine will be able to gain ready access to it through their NHS board."
MS is a neurological condition which affects around 10,000 people living in Scotland.
Symptoms include numbness and mobility problems.
Local NHS boards in Scotland have welcomed the introduction of the drug north of the border.
– Spokesperson, NHS Dumfries and Galloway
We note the news that Fingolimod has been accepted by Scottish Medicines Consortium for use by specific patient groups living with MS.
Providing a person -centred high quality service to our patients is a key priority for NHS Dumfries and Galloway and this news will be welcomed by those living with MS and for which Fingolimod will be clinically appropriate.
MS patient Gillian Rafferty, aged 48, who lives in Moffat and has been taking the drug as part of a clinical trial for five years, said that Fingolimod had transformed her life.
She said she was pleased that the drug was now available to all those who need it but said patients should be allowed to take it straight away without first having to try other medications.