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Thyroxine concern needs sorting out

Jackie Blue MP National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

22 August 2008

Thyroxine concern needs sorting out

National Party Associate Health spokeswoman Jackie Blue is calling on Health Minister David Cunliffe to sort out the confusion and concern around the drug Eltroxin.

"MPs from all parties have been inundated with calls from constituents whose health is being seriously affected by the new formulation of Eltroxin, which is the only subsidised thyroxine available in New Zealand.

"This is a serious issue. New Zealanders need to know what the Government is doing about it. Leaving it to Pharmac and Medsafe has got these patients nowhere."

Dr Blue said Eltroxin's formulation was changed in July last year and it seems that problems began to surface as old stocks ran out late last year.

"People who had previously been stable on the old formulation began experiencing unusual and unexplained symptoms.

"Pharmac says it is Medsafe's problem, but why is it that over the past seven years Pharmac has been unable to attract another supplier?

"When questioned at the Health Select Committee two months ago Mr Cunliffe didn't seem particularly concerned, but said he would authorise Medsafe to brief the committee at a later date."

Medsafe chief Stewart Jessamine said last week that he thought the problem was mainly with women in their 60's 70's and 80's, hinting that their new 'symptoms' were unrelated to the medication.

"The problem is definitely real. The people we have been talking to are not neurotic.

"Mr Cunliffe, who is supposedly 'running the show', needs to step in to sort out the confusing response of his government's agencies."

ENDS

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