UK citizen returning to the UK from USA after 30+ years

Hello. I’m currently living in the US but am considering retiring to the UK. I’m a UK citizen. I was diagnosed with MS in 2000, have been on medication since then (Avonex, Plegridy and currently Rebif) and have not had a relapse. I’ve tried reading through this forum but it’s not clear to me:

a) if I’ll be able to continue getting Rebif.
b) the likely cost of the medication, assuming I can continue getting it.

Thanks in advance for any help.

If you’re a UK citizen, I’m sure you won’t have a problem about getting healthcare free at point of use like the rest of us. The issue I can see for you is transferring from one system to the other without an interruption in your treatment. The stories have heard about NHS delays aren’t wrong, I’m afraid. Managing that transition is what I would be thinking about if I were you.

I emailed MS Trust with this question and they replied as below. I hope this helps others with similar queries.

Thank you for your enquiry regarding continuing your DMD Rebif if you move back to the UK.

Yes, Rebif is a DMD that is available here in the UK. Rebif has been approved for use on the NHS since 2002. It can only be prescribed by a neurologist therefore it would be beneficial for your MS team in the US to speak to your new MS team here in the UK to enable a smooth transition with the continuation of your DMD when here in the UK. You could also be asked to be copied into any email correspondence between them to ensure you are kept informed too.

You can find the details for the hospitals with MS services here on our map of MS services by typing in your UK postcode and searching for ‘Hospitals with MS services’ under the dropdown ‘Services’ menu: MS services near me | MS Trust

The MS nurse services are also listed on the map under the ‘Services’ dropdown menu.

Depending on which drug you are prescribed, you may either collect it from the hospital pharmacy, receive it in hospital as a day patient or inpatient, or have it delivered to your home or agreed address by a designated home delivery company. Your MS team can let you know what the local practice is.

You can read more here about the health professionals involved in your MS care here in the UK which might be useful for you: Making the most of appointments | MS Trust

With regards to the costs of Rebif, if you are eligible for NHS treatment then you will not have to pay for the drug itself. This page might be useful which covers further information as well as useful numbers with regards to prescription costs: Who can get free prescriptions - NHS

If you are a UK national living abroad and are returning to live in the UK, you will be able to use the NHS for your healthcare. You will need to complete a GMS1 form to register with a GP near your home that you can access here: GMS1 - GOV.UK

You can also read more here: Using the NHS when you return to live in the UK - GOV.UK

In England, NHS prescriptions are currently charged at £9.65 per item. Some people are exempt from paying prescription charges. MS is not in itself a medical condition for which you are automatically exempt from paying charges. You can also read more here: Health costs | MS Trust

I hope this information is helpful. If this doesn’t fully answer your question or if you have further questions about any aspect of MS, please contact us again.

To keep up to date on all the latest news, views, and research on multiple sclerosis, sign up for our e-newsletter and email alerts at

To help us monitor our service we may send you a link to a survey about your enquiry in a week’s time. The survey is anonymous, and we will not be able to identify who you are from your replies. If you would prefer us not to send you a link to the survey, please let us know.

1 Like