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Patient concern over diabetes drugs being banned from NHS prescriptions

GP’s have been banned from prescribing a number of higher cost diabetes drugs such as Byetta, Victoza, Januvia and Galvus .
A survey carried out by medical news provider, Pulse, under the Freedom of Information Act reveals more than fifty per cent of Primary Care Organisations (PCOs) have drawn blacklists of NICE approved drugs. 134 PCOs were quizzed and, of these, 73 had placed drugs on blacklists or put alternative restrictions on how these drugs could be prescribed.

A number of commonly prescribed and effective type 2 diabetes drugs have been included within the blacklists including: Byetta (Exenatide), Victoza (Liraglutide), Januvia (Sitagliptin), Galvus (Vildagliptin). Patients receiving these treatments tend to be those who have not responded well to cheaper alternatives or because cheaper medicines have promoted particular side effects, such as weight gain .

The news which broke on 12 April is a concern for patients currently taking these medicines and raises questions as to whether a tightening postcode lottery could see diabetic patients being moved on to cheaper alternative treatments, with more dangerous side effects, such as insulin .

Other drugs to have been blacklisted by some PCOs include the more expensive statins such as Lipitor (Atorvastatin) and Crestor (Rosuvastatin) as well as treatments for high blood pressure, pain relief and sexual dysfunction .

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