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  • Jefferson Adams

    Does the British Health Service Really Spend $26 on Each Gluten-free Pizza?

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Photo: CC--Seth W.
    Caption: Photo: CC--Seth W.

    Celiac.com 08/08/2012 - In the UK, people with celiac disease get their gluten-free food subsidized by the government as part of their national health care. This includes items like gluten-free pizzas.

    This practice works in much the same way that insurance companies in America cover drug prescriptions for their members. Those members with a doctor's prescription pay a reduced cost or no cost at all on certain items. In the UK, everyone is insured by the National Health Service (NHS). There, people with celiac disease and certain other conditions get prescriptions that allow them to obtain gluten-free food at a reduced cost.



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    In a recent story, BBC news claims that, as part of this service, the NHS is spending £17 (about $26) on each gluten-free pizza it supplies. That amount would equal four times the original base price of the pizza, since they originally cost less than £4.50 (about $6) each.

    According to the BBC, once manufacturing, handling and delivery fees were added, the bill for the NHS had risen to £34 (over fifty bucks) for two pizzas.

    Without acknowledging the actual cost per pizza, Stuart Lakin, head of medicines management at NHS Rotherham, said that the NHS was making efforts to minimize wholesaler delivery charges on the pizzas by switching patients from brands that attract additional charges. He added that costs for all gluten-free products was down from £274,611 in 2009/10 to just £177,153 in 2011/12.

    Moreover, he noted, only patients with clinically diagnosed celiac disease are eligible for prescriptions for gluten-free products.

    Health Secretary Andrew Lansley pointed out that prescriptions encouraged celiac sufferers to more strictly follow gluten-free diets, but admitted that the practice is ‘under ongoing review.'

    What do you think? Should gluten-free food be treated like medicine for people with celiac disease, and be covered under insurance plans like prescription drugs?

    Is $26 dollars too much to pay for a gluten-free pizza?

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    In France, the french NHS pay up to 45€/month. This is peanuts if we take into account the prices of gluten-free products (a 250gr slice of gluten-free bread is about 4,5€, compared to about 0,5-0,8€ for a french baguette).

    As gluten-free diet is the only cure for celiac disease, yes... it is normal the healthcare system pays for it, as it pays for insulin and other remedies. All in all, health care is only a matter of choice for a country; either it is a developped country, with all the standards or it is a non developped country with very low standard of lives. We pay taxes for these purposes (health, education etc).

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    Guest England is pathetic

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    In England the prescriptions are being cut down to just bread and flour. Really pathetic country who couldn't careless about Coeliac's . The restaurants lie about being gluten-free, the supermarkets are always recalling gluten-free products because they have gluten them. It almost feels like everyone's against Coeliac's if you look on some websites in the UK. I wish I could snap my fingers and the whole of UK became Coeliac's as that's the only way it would be taken seriously, unfortunately.

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    I can see the argument for the goverment helping celiac patients with their food purchases, since not eating gluten is the only way they can stay healthy. However. That being said, then you are being watched by Big Brother (gov't), Big Ag (the food corporations and big supermarket chains), health insurance companies, as well as pharma corporations, all of which will have a say in what you can eat, how much you can eat, how healthy that food will be--because as we all know, processed and refined food is worse for the body's health, glycemic-index, etc., than organic, whole food, unprocessed foods. I would very much prefer myself to buy all of my own food and leave all of these entities OUT of my food purchasing decisions. They have absolutely NO RIGHT to be there, tampering in any way, with what I wish to eat (provided it's gluten free) and what I want to eat (organic vs industrial man made food products).

     

    I agree with England; we need to completely kick gluten out of the entire feed chain, as it is now becoming very apparent that gluten is bad for anyone to consume, not just those with celiac or gluten intolerance. Then again, all of the systems need to be dismantled and started anew, with better and healthier food choices across the board.

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    Hello! This is a great idea. I'm from ROMANIA, UE but in my country I don't have any aid from medical insurance or another institute of Romanian State.

     

    In Romania, I believe it is urgently necessary to learn about celiac disease. There are very few celiac disease specialists here. I believe the International Institute of Medicine must take action to inform the Romanian Government.

     

    Please don't forget: celiac disease is a handicap.

    High price of gluten-free food contributes directly to malnutrition, and combined with malabsorbtion, generates bad quality of life.

     

    Please help, in Romania we don't have it right.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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