Treatment for MS immigrants

ADear friends,

happy to find your website. My name is Julie, I am 29 and I am from Russia.

Two weeks ago I found out about my MS and of course I was shocked. In fact previously I didn’t even know anything about this illness.

Now I am still in a hospital,but things will soon be better with my condition and I hope for remission.

I know that every person with such illness gets multiple sclerosis medication for the whole life

I haven’t yet begun this therapy in Russia,because the treatment is very expensive and is paid by government,now I am in a queue, so I don’t even know what kind of it I will get.

The problem is that in a few months me and my husband move to Sunderland ( UK), he will work there and I don’t know what to do

Please tell me how the process of getting medicine is organized in your country and is it possible for immigrants with accompanying visa to get treatment?

Many thanks in advance, wish you be healthy :heart:

Best regards,


Hello Julie

Welcome to the forum. Sorry you’ve had the diagnosis that has brought you here.

The National Health Service is free for U.K. citizens, but for people coming from overseas, particularly from outside the EU, that isn’t the case. See How charges for NHS healthcare apply to overseas visitors - GOV.UK People with a visa to live in the U.K. now have to pay a ‘Health Surcharge’ to access the NHS.

I think the rules about how much you have to pay are included in this webpage: Pay for UK healthcare as part of your immigration application: How much you have to pay - GOV.UK

It actually looks reasonably straightforward, once you pay the surcharge, you can access the NHS services.

What you’d probably have to do once you arrive in the U.K., having paid the health surcharge as part of your visa, is register with an NHS General Practice surgery. You then see a doctor within that surgery who would have to refer you to a neurologist. If you manage to get copies of whatever tests you’ve had done in Russia to show to the neurologist, that would definitely speed up any access to drug therapies, in particular MRI scans, since they should be readable without there being a language barrier (ask for a CD with the scans on them, you may have to pay for this, but it should be worthwhile).

You should be aware that only people with ‘active’ relapsing remitting MS have access to disease modifying drugs (DMDs) so if you’ve been diagnosed with a progressive variant you would be able to get drugs to help symptoms, but not DMDs.

Best of luck with your move.



I have nothing to add to Sue’s excellent advice.

Sorry about your diagnosis, Julie. I hope that things go well for you, and that you and your husband enjoy your time in the UK.



I have a work proposal to work on London.

I am brazilian and here I use Tecfidera for at least 1 year, that is also paid by the government.

I would like to know if probably I would be able to keep the same treatment or if the doctor could say “You dont need it, go back to Copaxone that didnt work very well before”.

Also, I would have to buy the medicine on UK, right? Does anyone know the price of Tecfidera in UK?

Depending on the price, I am thinking of traveling every month to Brazil to continue my treatment here, like seeing the doctor and getting the medicine here.

Thanks for any help.

Not everyone with MS is suitable for DMD’s as they call them here. Ssssue has given best advice. you have to start with registering at a local GP. Only then can they refer you to a neurologist etc.

Do the UK government give the medication to immigrants? Or would we have to pay?

Does anyone know the price of Tecfidera on England? Its a hard information to find.


Please, ignore this, i didnt realize that comments go through analysis and duplicated the question thinking that may comment wasnt sent


Read my previous reply to Julie from Russia.

I’ve answered your question there. You pay a surcharge with your visa. It’s unlikely a U.K. neurologist would change a DMD that is working for you, that they like to prescribe, for a less effective one.