CO-PROXAMOL BUNGLED WITHDRAWAL IS A FARCE

by Jeanne Hambleton © 2007
NFA Leader Against Pain-Advocate

PULSE, the search engine website developed by GPs for GPs, suggests the co-proxamol “bungled withdrawal is not working for patients or doctors” and it is turning into a farce.

This was announced this week on the PULSE website together with great news that GPs will accept legal responsibility to prescribe co-proxamol in the New Year according to a survey by Cegedim Strategic Data

This news was announced under the heading GPs get legal alert as co-proxamol phase-out stalls.

PULSE also warns that GPs could face huge medicolegal risks after 1 January, as tens of thousands of patients throughout the UK continue to receive prescriptions for co-proxamol.

An investigation by PULSE reveals that the GPs support for co-proxamol is due to concerns about alternative painkillers. The survey of 90 practices showed that in spite of the Government pressure to discontinue prescribing the painkiller some 60,000 patients were still taking co-proxamol in October.

Although the website outlines the legal responsibilities that doctors may face if they continue to prescribe co-proxamol after the withdrawal PULSE suggests in practices surveyed there were plans to take patients off co-proxamol on January 1st, but as many as 39% reported they would continuing prescribing the drug on a named patient basis.

The data from the survey revealed that on average GPs would continue to provide co-proxamol for 14 patients for each practice as “no adequate alternative” could be found.

The Chairman of the GPC committee responsible for prescribing Dr. Bill Beeby is quoted as saying it is “very difficult” to take patients off co-proxamol, especially elderly people who have been taking the painkiller for some time.

The President of the Primary Care Rheumatology Society, Dr. Adam Bajkowski, felt it was wrong to suggest paracetamol could provide an acceptable alternative for co-proxamol.

Dr Bajkowski is quoted as saying he had yet to meet a jobbing doctor who believed it is a good idea to withdraw co-proxamol.

But the debate continues as one doctor in Birmingham suggested the withdrawal of this drug was long overdue.

There is a box on the PULSE website to make comment but you must sign in and become a subscriber (no charge) before you can complete the box. I hope you will make your feelings known to PULSE and to those of us here who are striving to reverse the withdrawal and make co-proxamol legal again. The website address for PULSE is at the end of the story.

In another story also posted today called Withdrawal Symptoms PULSE claims that “rarely has a medicine so divided GPs” and indicates the withdrawal is turning into a farce. PULSE also suggests the bungled withdrawal is not working.

The website suggests that GPs who decide to prescribe the contentious painkiller do so at their own risk, with the legal responsibility resting on their own shoulders.

PULSE also adds that whether co-proxamol is seen as good guy or bad, the painkiller needs to carry the strongest possible warnings over its risks of overdose and addiction.

To read the full report from the Pulse website log on to:

http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=23&storycode=4116293&c=1

My other great news is UK Conservative Members of Parliament, Nick Gibb, (Bognor Regis and Littlehampton) and Andrew Tyrie (Chichester) have joined the fight to save co-proxamol and shares our concerns about the withdrawal.

They has promised to raise this burning issue with MP Dawn Primarolo, Minister of State (Public Health), Department of Health, who responsible for drugs an drug treatments. My personal thanks to these Members of Parliament for giving us their time to support this battle. We look forward to hearing more. Four other MPs have merely acknowledged receipt of the message. Several others have ignored it.

This news of the support of GPs, issued by PULSE, has been shared with Nick Gibb MP, Andrew Tyrie MP, Rob Wilson MP (chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Fibromyalgia), John Baron MP (Billericay) Shadow Health Minister and the two MPs who have already raised questions in the House concerning the withdrawal of co-proxamol – Anne Begg MP (Aberdeen South) Member, Work and Pensions Committee and Chairmen’s Panel Committee; and Dr Howard Stoate MP (Dartford) a Member of the Health Committee.

I will leave you with this burning question – if co-proxamol has been used for the last 50 years, without any grave concerns; and if 72,000 people have been prescribed this painkiller over a number of years; why suddenly is there a great need to withdraw it, especially when it appears there is little support from the GPs for this action?

We must acknowledge that co-proxamol has been used in a number of suicides– but there are so many other drugs on the market, which would be just as lethal if taken in huge quantities. This is no reason to withdraw co-proxamol. A similar battle raged some years ago over paracetamol – but that battle was won. My hopes are this one will also be won.
Maybe you will ask your own MP this question? You do not have much time -withdrawal begins officially on 1 January 2008 – New Year’s Day. Please let us have your views.

Jeanne

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About FMS Global News

Folllowing Rick Usher's death in December 2008, at his request in September of that year, I had agreed, as his principal contributor and an experienced journalist, to run the FMS Global News service due to his heavy commitments to music and raising research funds through this avenue. Following his sad and sudden death I hope to continue his work as he would have wished.
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