by Jeanne Hambleton © 2008
NFA Leader Against Pain-Advocate

Distributors and pharmacists are being asked to return unsold stock and supplies of co-proxamol to the manufacturers.

Regardless of all the lobbying, objections, petitions and correspondence, it is official – co-proxamol can no longer be prescribed by your GP – unless there are extenuating circumstances and you are listed as a named patient.

What is even more worrying is, if your doctor is sympathetic and will prescribe this painkiller for you (illegally I might add as it is now a category C drug), where will he get co-proxamol?

A letter from the Rt. Hon. Dawn Primarolo MP, Minister of State with a responsibility for drugs and medicine, dated 21st December, sent to one of our supporters, reveals there will be no U turn on the decision to withdraw co-proxamol from use in general medicine.

The letter confirms that it has been agreed with the manufacturers to withdraw this 50-year-old tried and tested painkiller over an extended period allowing the long-term users to find alternative pain management. Patients are recommended to discuss this with their own doctors.

It is still confirmed however (after January 1 2008) there would still be a supply of co-proxamol for individual patients with the responsibility falling primarily on the prescriber.

Making things even more difficult for the sympathetic GP is the news that the cost of this medication has been increased following the phased withdrawal according to the January 2008 Drug Tariff.

The National Electronic Library of Medicines for the NHS has announced today that the tablets are now category C and the basic price of 100 tablets is listed a £20.36 – an increase of £2.79.

The press release from NELM states, “In a position statement issued by the MHRA at the end of 2007, the agency had stated that no further stock of co-proxamol should be released into the normal distribution chain by manufacturers or their agents after 31 December 2007. However, the agency had stated that following withdrawal of the MAs, it will remain legal to continue to supply co-proxamol released into the normal distribution chain prior to 31 December 2007 up until the product expiry date on the label has passed.

“However, the MHRA had asked manufacturers to make a voluntary withdrawal of stock and put in place arrangements to receive returned stock from both wholesale distributors and pharmacies (both community and hospital).

“The agency adds that it recognises there is a small group of patients who are likely to find it very difficult to change from co-proxamol or where alternatives appear not to be effective or suitable, and so for this group, following cancellation of the licences at the end of 2007, there is a provision for the supply of unlicensed co-proxamol on the responsibility of the prescriber.”

So please tell us stocks, if co-proxamol is being recalled, do we have a right to know where those who need it can get it? Who is the manufacturer who has agreed with the Government to continue to supply co-proxamol for those in need as stated in the House of Commons by Minister Caroline Flint MP earlier this year?

Pulse Today, the website of the GPs, in a comment made early in December suggested that the bungled withdrawal of co-proxamol is not working for patients and GPs.

I have been fighting this battle, in response to requests for help, for over a year and it has got me nowhere. So where do we go from here? You tell me! Do we just roll over and give in to this Government, yet again!
Have we become just another insignificant bungled statistic?

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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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