Take the Drugs that make you ill or go without!


I know this is not the topic I usually rant about but my wonderfully strong, totally independent & resilient mum, who’s 82 next Saturday was early this year finally diagnosed with Osteoporosis (brittle bones).

She was given a very strong drug to take once a week which completely laid her off her feet and left her unable to do anything for 4/5 days –  most of the week; something not only unworkable in practice, but that she as many others of her age, found absolutely loathsome.

I persuaded her to return to her GP and request a different treatment, this resulted in another drug that, although making her ill for 2 days a week, allowed her to function and continue to manage her life; a price she was more than happy to pay.

3 month ago this second drug became ‘difficult’ to obtain, and we were chasing pharmacists all over Leicester to find one which carried it; with most of them offering her the original drug as a suitable substitute!

Finally last week my mum was forced to go back to her GP who gave her the real reason – the second drug was “simply too expensive” and she was told to either take the drug that made her so ill or “go without”. So mum is too ill lo do anything or risks fractures!!

A letter to the GP is being negotiated as I write (me wanting to give it straight, mum needing to be more diplomatic because ‘it’s about my Dr’)

I saw the link below and wondered if my mums situation is an example of budget being more important than LIFE http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/aug/03/patients-sue-nhs-access-drugs


8 thoughts on “Take the Drugs that make you ill or go without!

  1. I asked for Pregabalin, and my doctor outright told me they couldn’t do that because it was too expensive, but gave me Gabapentin instead. The older drug, with more side effects, that makes me dizzy, nauseous and generally out of sorts. I can be completely still then the world will spin around me and I fall out of bed or off the chair. When it settles it does help with things, but until it settles, eff me but it’s horrible. 😦 So it’s either neuropathic pain, uncontrollable muscle spasms and complete exhaustion or 4 hours or more out of every day feeling so shit I can’t do anything. 😦 I’ve started timing the pills so I get the worst symptoms at night. It’s not helping the insomnia any, that’s for sure. 😦 Bloody budgeting ahead of health care.


    • I can sympathise with you totally here, as a pregabalin user who also is intolerant to Gabapentin I hear you

      Maybe we ought to try and collect people’s experiences with this?


    • Hi , this may not help as I don’t know your financial position, but if you offer to pay by private prescrition, magically a prescription may be given !
      A friend of mine switched from gabapentin/neurontin to pregabalin and his GP is fine with this, but !! his specialist said he needed it and when this happens the GP has to go along with it , my experience also.
      Maybe one of these will help, couldn’t take pregabalin myself but neurontin was great, but at the moment yes it is more expensive than neurontin sadly.



  2. Hi come across this myself, when I asked for liquid citalopram as opposed to the generic pills.
    GP was straight and showed me his comp screem ,red line across the product- meaning cost warning, he gave me some to start with which was great as its much better than the cheaper generics, but it seems endemic now.
    Hope you don’t mind me asking but was one of your mothers drugs “Adcal” a friend of mine is on this and has some probs with it.



  3. This has Nowt to do with COST in my opinion, and everything to do with shifting OLD stock that is now NOT wanted.
    This is about Price fixing by the drug company’s who are RIPPING off the NHS and Patients.


    • The “cost” referred to here IS simply the price the NHS is charged by the drug companies – i.e. the cost as shown on the GP’s list. What the drug companies say is that the cost of manufacturing a drug is a small part of the total cost, which is mostly based on the Research ad Development. It is certainly true that R&D is a large part of any drug company’s cost and that not all drugs get through that process – many are found to be ineffective or dangerous after millions have been spent on them.

      Whether the drug companies are ripping off their customers (and the UK NHS is only a part of the global market in pharmaceuticals) is another discussion. What the “real” price of a drug should be is hard to determine – or anything else for that matter.

      What is the “real” price of a house for example? Close a nearby primary school and the price of a house falls – even though the house itself is exactly what it always was. Get a new rail link close (but not too close) and the price of the house rises – even though the house has not changed.

      So if a drug seems likely to have a new rival which might (note MIGHT) do a better job, then people will pay less for the drug than they would have done a year earlier – even though the drug is just as effective as it always was.

      I’m not saying that Big Pharma do not engage in some morally dubious activities – and occasionally in some downright illegal ones. They do. But the “correct” pricing of a drug is not a simple matter which could be established by totting up the price of the raw ingredients and adding the cost of manufacture and distribution plus a “reasonable” profit margin.


  4. I’m not sure who you are vicki but your persistent attempts at justification of every comment I make on my personal blog is still welcome; I just wish you wouldn’t hide behind an anonymous website and unknown gravatar.

    Come on if you really want to fight back be brave enough to show yourself


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