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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Woman wins battle for life-saving drug - after help from News & Star

A woman who was denied life-saving medication is to get it after all, thanks to the News & Star.

Yvonne Dixon photo
Yvonne Dixon

Yvonne Dixon, 59, was paying £67.50 out of her income of £100 a week for a private prescription for the drug Evotrox, which she needs to treat a thyroid problem.

She panicked when her pharmacist told her last month that he could no longer get hold of it.

Now, following inquiries by the News & Star, fresh supplies are on the way.

And in future her GP will prescribe it on the NHS.

Miss Dixon, of Garfield Street, Denton Holme, Carlisle, said: “I’m relieved. I’m amazed as well.

“The drug compensates for the fact that my thyroid gland doesn’t produce the hormone thyroxine.

“Without it, your kidneys fail, you get arthritis and joint problems, muscle wasting, everything slows down and eventually you die.

“I had some in reserve and I cut down the dose to eke it out but I only had three weeks’ supply left.

“I went to my GP and to every pharmacy in Carlisle but nobody could get it.”

The News & Star contacted the distributor, Orbis Consumer Products, in London. It confirmed that Evotrox was in short supply.

A spokeswoman said: “We know there is a problem but we haven’t stopped making it. We keep emergency stocks.”

A batch for Miss Dixon was sent to Carlisle yesterday.

Her thyroid problem was diagnosed by an endocrinologist at the Cumberland Infirmary in December.

The preferred treatment is in tablet form.

Miss Dixon, however, refused to take the tablets because they contain traces of starch. She has extreme lactose intolerance.

She said: “I would have had severe diarrhoea. I would have been dehydrated within days and in hospital.”

Her GP, Dr Hans Schmid of Warwick Road Surgery, felt the trace of starch was so slight she would not have suffered ill effects.

But because she insisted, he agreed to issue a private prescription for the more expensive Evotrox. Miss Dixon resorted to selling possessions, including furniture, in order to pay.

Now NHS Cumbria says she can have Evotrox on an NHS prescription.

A spokesman said: “If a patient chooses to decline medication recommended and prescribed by their family doctor, a private prescription can be used in limited circumstances for an alternative medication.

“Part of the responsibility of a GP is to ensure they provide sound, clinically-based prescribing.

“In any circumstance where a patient disagrees with the advice and course of treatment prescribed by their doctor, we would always encourage them to discuss this further with their GP.

“In this case, a change in the prescription has been made after further consultation and we hope that this resolves the issue from the patient’s perspective.”

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