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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Outrage Over UK Calls to Ban Gluten-free Food Prescriptions

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Calls to end prescriptions for UK celiac sufferers is meeting with opposition.


    Caption: Are prescriptions the best way to help cealiac sufferers in the UK? Photo: CC--Mike Licht

    Celiac.com 03/07/2017 - The Brits are having a bit of a dustup over the best way to help people support with celiac disease.

    Currently, Britain's National Health Service supplies prescriptions for gluten-free food staples for people with celiac disease. Seemingly, no one disagrees with medical experts that celiac suffers should get support from the National Health Service to buy certain staple gluten-free products.

    The question, at least from one side of the political spectrum, seems to be whether prescriptions are the best way to provide that support. And that question lies at the heart of the dustup.

    In a recent article, the British Medical Journal presents a 'head to head' case for and against gluten-free prescriptions on the NHS.

    In opposition to prescriptions, James Cave, a GP from Newbury, suggests an alternative would be a national voucher scheme or a personalized health budget for patients, so they receive the difference between the cost of gluten-free products and the prescription.

    Matthew Kurien clinical lecturer in gastroenterology, Professor David Sanders, and Sarah Sleet, Chief Executive of Coeliac UK make the case in favor of providing prescription access to gluten-free staple foods, and say that removing prescriptions unfairly discriminates against people with celiac disease.

    They explain "targeting gluten-free food prescriptions may reduce costs in the short term but there will be long term costs in terms of patient outcomes." They also note that there is no other example in the NHS of a disease having its treatment costs cut by 50-100 per cent.

    Read more at Plymouth Herald.com.


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    I was living in the UK when I was diagnosed with celiac. Mail order prescription gluten-free foods were the tastiest thing I have eaten; only wish the US had that quality. It was a wonderful service.

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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 2,000 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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