Medication : Hi everyone I have a problem... - AF Association

AF Association
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Hi everyone

I have a problem with the various medication I take for my 'conditions'.

These are, principally, statins, beta blockers and warfarin.

Now, my concern is that I get comfortable with recognising the packaging of these medications every time I collect a prescription. One gets so familiar with the various boxes that it takes just a cursory glance to know which is which and, indeed, if one needs to use a set of pill boxes for brief trips away from home one is aware of which pill is which without needing reference to it's original container.

Of late I have found that my pharmacy is apt to change the brand of medications and I find this annoying as it upsets my highly regulated and organised life. Further, I am not so sure that the constant changing of brands is a good thing.

Having challenged my local pharmacist on this situation, it is quite clear that it all revolves around costs. Costs to the pharmacist that is and I know that they are harangued by the pharmaceutical company reps to take 'good deals'. I have contributed to the NHS over a period of 40 years and consider I am not a big drain on their over-stretched resources as I have private medical insurance which protects them from the high costs for the various ops and treatments I have had over the years.

Therefore, why should I be denied the particular brand medication to which I have become accustomed. Victor Meldrew looks forward to your sympathetic response to his valid complaint.

11 Replies

I know just how you feel as I'm sensitive to fillers and colourings.

My pharmacist was telling me he couldn't get the brand of Flecainide I wanted, so I rang the company that make it and asked if there was a shortage. They asked the name of the pharmacist, told me where he would be ordering his drugs from and said that place had just had a delivery. I rang my pharmacist and told him. Result is he now has a special basket where my drugs are stored, he showed it to me and there were 6 packs of my desired brand of Flecainide awaiting my next 6 prescriptions. Yah gotta fight for what you want!!! Do what I did.

Good luck



I worry about elderly folk with all the changes in packaging


Hello mycallc, I'm not sure you can demand a particular brand of medication because you find the change of packaging a bit inconvenient. If the change effected you medically or physically or your sight was impaired, then that might be a different story and you might get a more sympathetic hearing. Perhaps a dosset box might help you maintain your regulated and organised life! You could try telling the pharmacist that you use private medically insurance, but you might end up being told how you could pay for the medication (assuming you don't of course) but don't be too disappointed if you hear him say....."I don't believe it" as you leave by the door.....good luck with your dilemma......


Same goes on here Victor . One time my pill is one size ,one time it may be smaller or bigger . So what are the fillers is my question also along with your complaint . You are right , it's cost for them they are concerned about . I have called them about this to make sure of what I was getting .. Jean is right we have to raise the roof so to speak LOL.


1jerbear, you make a very good point. Just what goes into the fillers and coatings.

I have a friend who reacted very badly to a brand change in his medication and his GP deduced it was due to the coating on the new pills. In years to come, no doubt our forebears will be told of the truth of asbestos, saw-dust, iron filings or some other noxious substance being used to pack out our medication. Maybe herbal remedies really are the best option. Nothing like a good dollop of nettle juice to cure all ills ?


If you are medically unfit for a certain brand of drug then your GP can specify the actual brand to be supplied on the prescription and the pharmacy must obey this. I used to have this for asthma drug Ventolin as the generics used a different propellent which didn't deliver the drug deep enough into my lungs.


Not all GPs will oblige because of local CCG restrictions. My GP did - but told me she would get into trouble for doing it - see my post below.

The whole scenario is untenable.

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If your GP won't prescribe then a letter from your consultant forces the issue. CCGs can't override consultants even if some think they can. Note however that some CCGs have introduced rules saying that if the request is from a private consultation then GPs do not have to obey that request, though this is likely to be challenged in court soon and I am sure a judge will strike it down. However NHS consultations are most definitely unviolatable under any circumstances.

"CCGs are:

Membership bodies, with local GP practices as the members;

Led by an elected governing body made up of GPs, other clinicians including a nurse and a secondary care consultant, and lay members;"

Hence the CCGs are not really part of the NHS, as GPs are self-employed. They work with the NHS, but the money being spent belongs to the NHS, not the CCG.

I think however we are going to have to accept in the next few years that we will have to make a contribution to the cost of our drugs, as the costs to the NHS are becoming untenable, especially for older patients. Last night's Trust Me, I'm a Doctor highlighted this issue well.

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I know all of that - that is the set up -but GPs are pressured to work under budgets - by CCGs, by Practice Managers - many have not been able to survive under this pressure.

The practicalities don't work like that. It takes me 6-12 months to get an appointment with my Consultant through the NHS - how does that work when your pharmacist can't acquire the drugs because the NHS won't pay for the patented drug - which is the only one available?

This is life threatening if we don't have this drug.

I agree and am willing a contribution toward my drugs - but the system won't allow it?!

In the US at the moment I know of many people who have died due to them falling between 2 stools because of the recent changes in their political system.

Dr Mosley also commented that there were 2 possibilities - NHS rationing or reducing the cost of the drugs. I know few clinicians who want to make those sorts of choices and really - do we want them to?

For someone at end of life - it may very well be that an extra 3 months of life of an expensive drug is worth it for them - but I hope to have another 20 years of life with a drug that costs relatively little - about £50 per month - is one worth more than another?

How we fund treatments - who makes those choices - how much we are prepared to contribute has to be an open public debate, yet most people I know are not aware of the huge number of Quangos within the NHS - growing by the minute - and now we have the introduction of Acountable Care - by April in this county.

I don't have any answers - but I do think we need to face the reality and sooner rather than later instead of just complaining.

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I’ve had similar problems, particularly with one of my essential Mg meds. It became a huge problem because the UK manufacturer of the Med stopped making them so the NHS insisted on another generic - parallel import. This caused a huge shortfall in the UK generally and many people were unable to obtain this med which considering it is neuro-muscular condition and without this med people cannot see, talk, walk, swallow or breath - a pretty desperate situation!

The problems we encountered were beyond belief. The patented version WAS available but the pharmacists wouldn’t provide it because these cost £8 per bottle more and that would mean providing the at a loss. Deadlock. I offered to pay the £8 when I got down to 2 days supply - evidently I couldn’t do that either - paperwork and admin costs would be to much! Eventually - after much campaigning at Minister level from our Charity’s CEO - the NHS said we could use the patented version - providing our GPs wrote that on the script! Luckily mine was more than willing, but some found their GPs would not.

I have been told by my pharmacist that I shouldn’t change brands on one particular med - yet last refill I had 3 different brands?

The whole set up is just getting ridiculous and we need to campaign at local and national level - but how to get attention of the importance of this matter in this environment is difficult.

Did anyone watch the documentary on Boots a few weeks ago? That was very scary - several recorded deaths already and ‘investigation’ which basically got smothered.

The only sure way to get the brand we prefer is to get a private script - which I doubt most of us can afford long term. My monthly bill would be in the region of £500.

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My husband takes medication for epilepsy and is not allow ]ed to change brands so his GP gives him a perscription with brand name



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