|Drugs in the news|
The most advanced schizophrenic treatment drug, costing £2000 a year for each patient, has been 'banned' by nearly half of the UK health authorities in an effort to control costs. The National Schizophrenia Foundation, in a report just published, says that the drug, clozapine, could benefit one in five of the 250,000 schizophrenics in the UK, and cut suicide rates by 80 percent. Although the annual cost would be about £100 million, it says there could be savings on the NHS's £1 billion treatment bill for schizophrenia as new drugs would free up hospital beds and allow people to hold down jobs and come off benefits. Another drug, Tasmar, used by thousands of Parkinson's disease sufferers, has been removed from sale in the UK. Three patients taking the drug have died following liver function abnormality. A spokeswoman from the Department of Health advised patients not to panic but to see their GP for advice on gradual withdrawal of the drug.
Sources: Times 21 November, Guardian 14, 18 November
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