When Auckland man Brendan Rochford stopped being able to walk 500m unaided, he lost his access to the life-enhancing MS drug Tysabri.
The 41-year-old business analyst started on the drug when it was introduced in New Zealand three years ago and said since being on the medication the relapses that damaged his nervous system and caused a new disability have stopped.
"I was developing new lesions which are the marks on the brain that you can see in the MRI scan on a fairly regular basis and ever since I started Tysabri that has stopped."
Rochford was diagnosed with MS in 2011, but it was not until he developed a second disability within the same year and had trouble walking that he was able to get access to drug.
But it is that same walking disability that is now preventing him for getting funding as he can no longer meet Pharmac's criteria of walking 500m unaided.
Rochford can now walk between 20-30m using a walking stick, but for further distances needs a motorised wheelchair.
"I understand for some people not being able to walk is the be all and end all, but for me it doesn't affect my ability to work ...
"I can still contribute, I can still pay taxes, I can still be a member of society. Take me off the medication and you are speeding up the rate to which I will not be a member of society anymore."
Rochford said while Pharmac could save about $26,000 a year in funding the drug he relied on to contribute in society, it would also mean he couldn't work and would need disability payments from the Government.
"Basically they would be shifting my burden from one part of the public purse to another part of the public purse."
He said having to meet the 500m talking was a burden that had hung over him each year caused unnecessary stress - something MS patients were told to avoid as stress could make the condition worse.
Due to how successful the drug has been for him the pharmaceutical supplier had agreed to provide it to him directly and take a hit on their own profit, but Rochford said not all MS patients were as fortunate, and still feared the day when their funding was taken away.