A MULTIPLE sclerosis patient has hit out at a health board for trying to stop her using a drug to help her condition.
Sue Fortune, of Penycae, has been using an off-license drug called Ovestin to help her MS for about five years.
But back in April the Betsi Cadwaladr Local Health Board wrote to Ms Fortune’s GP Dr Peter Saul to direct him to withdraw Ovestin and to instead prescribe a licensed drug called Climaval.
But having researched Climaval, Ms Fortune discovered that the drug would not be effective to help her MS.
She said: “They claimed that the two drugs were ‘very similar’, but I checked and found that not only is Climaval about as much use for MS as cough drops, since it contains no oestriol, but it also carries a serious risk of side-effects – it contains oestradiol, a strong form of oestrogen which has been associated with endometrial cancer.
“Not only did Betsi Cadwaladr show no interest in the effective nature of the drug I was using, but they acted with disregard for my physical safety – which isn’t acceptable.”
Luckily Dr Saul continued to prescribe Ovestin to Ms Fortune who has suffered with MS for about 17 years and is now in the secondary phase of the disease.
She has been using Ovestin, which is currently undergoing large-scale trials on MS patients in several US cities, for about five years – and has been prescribed it for two to three years.
Now all Ms Fortune, who is in her 60s, wants is an apology from the health board.
She said: “I’d like to know how many patients have been denied treatments by Betsi Cadwaladr – and how many have been offered risky or ineffective substitutes instead.
“What adds insult to injury is that they greatly exaggerated the cost of the original drug, Ovestin.
“They claimed it cost them over £200 per month to supply it – while I had previously bought it privately, in small quantities, for around £20 per month – including postage from Vanuatu.
“It would be a far greater economy for them to sort out these issues, rather than snatching away an effective and modestly-priced drug from someone they thought would not fight back.
“I’m angry and insulted and very, very concerned that there must be a lot of people whose medicines have been interfered with in this way.”