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Arthritis NZ Pleads for Pain Relief Availability

Media Release

14 March 2005
For Immediate Release

Arthritis New Zealand Pleads for Pain Relief Availability

Arthritis New Zealand President Kate Thomson has made a plea to Medsafe to listen to patients when making its decision tomorrow about the future of pain relief (coxibs) for arthritis sufferers.

Approximately three weeks ago Medsafe said that one of the likely outcomes of its expert advisory committee tomorrow would be to remove the pain relieving medication known as coxibs from the market in New Zealand. This would severely limit the choice of pain relief medication available for thousands of arthritis sufferers.

“I suffer from arthritis, and take a coxib for pain relief. Without this medication I simply would not be able to work, or function properly in my family.”

“I challenge Medsafe to try and understand the enormous impact of chronic pain on a person’s life, and what it means to have effective pain relief which you can take comfortably.”

“One in three New Zealanders over the age of 45 suffers from some form of this debilitating disease. Pain relief is an important part of treatment. Without adequate pain relief many patients would be unable to work, or function normally with their families and in the community.”

“I urge Medsafe to consider this before making a decision to take an entire class of pain relievers off the New Zealand market, when no other country has taken such an extreme position.”

“The alternative older style anti inflammatory medicines which would remain on the market, although providing similar pain relief, are known to cause severe stomach problems and patients who need continuous pain relief will often find them difficult to tolerate.”

There are risks and benefits with all medications. I believe that patients and their Doctors should have the full range of treatment options available as in other countries. Let patients and their Doctors decide what medication is best for them, not a Government agency.


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