‘MSunderstood Café’ Gives Customers a Taste of Living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

MS Ireland opens the door on living with MS and show why patients deserve better

  • New research revealed 84% of adults believe it is unacceptable that patients in Ireland have worse access to new and innovative medicines than patients in any other country in Western Europe1

  • Over 1 in 10 (11%) adults claim that they or someone in their family has been unable to access medicine due to delays1

  • More than 8 in 10 (84%) believe that if a new medicine is able to improve someone’s quality of life, or extend their life, it should be made available to patients1

  • website launched to help demand quick access to new medicine for people with MS

MSunderstood Café

The urgent need for improved access to medicine and treatment for the management of multiple sclerosis (MS) was highlighted at the opening of the MSunderstood Café on Exchequer Street, Dublin 2 on 28 March 2018. The experiential pop-up café opened its doors to give customers a small taste of the daily challenges and debilitating symptoms faced by people living with MS.

To coincide with the opening, new research was launched which found that 84% of adults believe it is unacceptable that patients in Ireland have worse access to new and innovative medicines than patients in any other country in Western Europe1. Over 1 in 10 (11%) adults surveyed claim that they, or someone in their family, have been unable to access medicine due to delays1.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland (MS Ireland), in partnership with Roche, is calling for change and demanding the Government improves the market access system. People with MS (PwMS) need, expect and deserve quick access to new and effective treatments through a fair and sustainable system. This website – – was also launched today to help those affected by MS demand quick and better access to new medicine.

Ava Battles, Chief Executive, MS Ireland said, “MS Ireland believes that PwMS should have access to the right treatment at the right time. This may seem like a very basic demand, and one that it would be hard to refuse, but the truth is that this is not the situation for many people in Ireland today. By opening the doors to the MSunderstood Café, we hope we have helped customers understand the reality of living with MS, and realise how crucial speedy access to treatment is for PwMS.”

Everything in the MSunderstood Café – including the menu boards, coffee mugs and furniture – was designed to create a challenging experience, giving customers a unique insight into the lives of those living with MS. The simulated environment was created with PwMS to ensure all aspects of the café were as true to life as possible.

Pierre-Alain Delley, General Manager, Roche Products (Ireland) Ltd, said, “People with MS deserve quick access to medicine, yet in Ireland we face the worst access delays in Western Europe. The solution is a system similar to Germany’s where people with MS get access to medicines as soon as they are authorised by the European Commission. By working together we can improve the current access system and ensure everyone gets the treatment they need.”

More than 9,000 people are living with MS in Ireland, with thousands more family members affected2. Multiple Sclerosis, meaning ‘many scars’, is the most common neurological disease of young adults in Ireland2. Three times more women than men are diagnosed with MS2.

Check out the exclusive campaign video to see people’s reactions to visiting the MSunderstood Café.

Follow #MSunderstood and for more information visit


  1. Access to Medicine Research, Empathy Research, December 2017

  2. MS Ireland website visit