Prescription Drugs

in Letters to the editor · 30-04-2021 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

EDITOR. Re the recent correspondence about the availability of medicines in Portugal, I stand by my earlier letter.

Medicines sent from country to country by post are subject to special documentation and handling. Before Brexit, the UK was treated as non-international in areas of trade, which was the whole point of joining the European Union. After Brexit, the UK is not only a separate country politically (which it always was) but also economically, and trade by ship, truck or post is now subject to international controls. This is a choice that the UK made and not Portugal, to withdraw from the EU. (By the way, would a courier service work better than the post?)

The original letter writers complained that I classed them as naive, for which I apologize, although their first letter did give the impression of naivity, perhaps because of its brevity.

As for the comment that not all medicines are available in Portugal, this is probably true. Many advanced or special medicines (for uncommon conditions) available in Europe are not available (or licenced) in for instance Canada, to give one example with which I am familiar.

This leads one to the issue of decisions and responsibilities (to oneself) when one needs such medicines. One really has to think twice about moving to a country where one’s essential medicines are not available. If it was available at one point but the situation had changed (e.g. Brexit, which is a British created problem, not a Portuguese one), then one has to change as well, even if it means returning to the UK.

Finally, as for the issue of the insulin pump, I and probably most of your readers do not understand why the patient cannot switch to a different type of insulin pump for which supplies are available in Portugal. There may be medical or financial reasons why she does not want to do this, but if only the UK version works, then she has to seriously consider living only in the UK where her medicine is available. It is sad, but issues of health always come before issues of convenience or pleasure.

Dr. Ron B. Thomson, Lagoa
By email


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