Patients with hypothyroidism have been left in the dark as a result of a ‘unfair’ price increase on a critical medicine.
Because of a geographical lottery in NHS prescriptions, tens of thousands of people are being denied medication for life-threatening thyroid disease.
Campaigners claim they can’t access the life-enhancing medication liothyronine because many local doctors won’t prescribe it.
Unless they acquire their own supply from overseas, hypothyroid patients, who are largely women, are forced to suffer from debilitating symptoms such as persistent fatigue, weight gain, and despair.
After the producer, Advanz Pharma, raised the price, public health officials began to avoid giving out liothyronine.
Advanz Pharma increased the price of a month’s supply from £4 to £248 in the last decade, a 6,000 percent increase.
The Competition and Markets Authority penalized the corporation and its financial supporters a total of £100 million last week for charging “excessive and unreasonable” fees.
The Thyroid Trust has now produced evidence suggesting that 52 percent of local bodies responsible for NHS services have “unreasonably withheld” the medicine, which patients say makes them feel better right away.
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Chantell Mapp-Pope, 44, is still struggling for liothyronine on the NHS to treat her thyroid issues.
The mother of two makes do with a less-effective but less-expensive version purchased online from Turkey or carried back by a vacationing friend.
When Chantell, from Essex, was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, she was given liothyronine through the NHS, which she found to be effective. However, after the price increase, it was abruptly halted.
“You were expected to pay £780 for a prescription,” Chantell explained. That’s something I couldn’t do every month.
“I was turned down the last time I inquired about the NHS version. Now I’m just waiting for a breakthrough and trying to remain patient.”
Mary Saunders worked for six years to have liothyronine approved for use on the NHS.
Before she could persuade her health authority to offer her the life-changing treatment, the counsellor, 65, had to enlist the help of The Thyroid Trust and her local MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle.
She had previously taken advantage of vacations in Greece to stock up on medication from pharmacies that sold it at an affordable price.
Mary was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 13 years ago in Peacehaven, East Sussex.
“We shouldn’t have to fight like this,” she remarked. It’s dreadful. It’s horrible enough to be sick without having to deal with all of this. It’s been a long and arduous fight.”
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