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Situation critical for thyroid sufferers: Greens

28 August 2008

Situation critical for thyroid sufferers, Greens say

The Green Party is calling on the Government to intervene to help hundreds of New Zealanders who are experiencing significant adverse reactions to a new formulation of thyroid medication Eltroxin.

"I am getting emails and letters from desperate patients every day, and the situation is critical," Ms Kedgley says.

"Surely when almost 600 patients report significant side effects to this drug, it's time for Medsafe to tell the drug manufacturer that the new formulation is not acceptable for many New Zealanders, and that they should provide an alternative drug." The Minister of Health has confirmed in answers to written questions that 571 New Zealanders have reported adverse reactions to the medicine to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring so far this year, after GlaxoSmithKlein switched to a new formulation.

"We are very concerned at reports that some patients were switched to a different version of this thyroid medicine without being told, and then suffered adverse side effects. This is despite the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights which makes clear that consumers have the right to be fully informed, make an informed choice and give informed consent.

"But the priority now needs to be on fixing things up. When 571 New Zealanders report adverse reactions to a new formulation of a medicine, the Government must step in and protect them by providing them with an alternative."

"The Government seems to be putting its head in the sand over this issue, and hoping it will go away. It will not, because more and more New Zealanders are experiencing ongoing and serious symptoms from the new medication," Ms Kedgley says.


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