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  • Jefferson Adams

    UK Gluten-free Bread Dustup: Forty Bucks a Loaf?

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 09/14/2011 - There is a bit of a dust-up over the cost of gluten-free bread to UK taxpayers. It seems that either UK's National Health Service (NHS) is being gouged, or that the conservative party had released inaccurate statistics about the cost of gluten-free bread to UK taxpayers.

    In the UK, those diagnosed with celiac disease are given a doctor's prescription that allows them to purchase gluten-free bread from stores or pharmacies at cost that is partly subsidized by the taxpayer.



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    Photo: CC-nyxieThe dust-up began when press reports stated that each loaf of gluten-free bread cost the NHS in Wales £32 (over $40), once the costs of diagnosis and prescription were factored in.

    This prompted a reply by major gluten-free bread-maker Genius Foods noting that Genius supplies the bread to the NHS at the exact same rate as it supplies to stores, and saying that Genius was frustrated by additional charges levied on gluten-free bread that it supplies to the NHS in Wales.

     Genius also said: “Some pharmacies, however, choose to order through a wholesaler, and in these instances the wholesaler can opt to apply an additional administration charge for taking and placing these orders." 

    Genius added that: “This handling fee appears to be charged directly to the NHS. Genius Foods does not profit in any way from these charges.”

    However, the UK government insists that talk of £32 loaves is incorrect, and claims that the £32 figure came after the nation’s Conservative party read statistics as referring to cost per loaf, rather than prescription.

    Welsh health minister Lesley Griffiths said, "The actual cost for the single loaf of gluten-free bread in question is around £2.82, not the £32 claimed."

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    How about learning how to make your own nutritious gluten free bread and sidestepping the refined flour products that are available on prescription? You can make your own loaf at home using delicious, nutritious flours such as teff, chestnut, buckwheat, almond, brown rice and more!

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    This story was actually misinterpreted by a UK newspaper and Coeliac UK created a press release to correct it. They think that the data came from an "average prescription" costing this much, not a single loaf of bread.

     

    This is explained here and includes a link to the press release that the Coeliac UK charity released to try and correct this mistake.

     

    www.coeliac.org.uk/gluten-free-diet-lifestyle/food-on-prescription/gluten-free-prescriptions-%E2%80%93-what-we%E2%80%99re-doing-to-help-you/getting-the-story-

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    Some UK Strategic Health Authorities have removed gluten-free products from National Health Service prescription, a move applauded by greedy right-wingers . Celiac disease is just that -- a disease -- and therefore basic gluten-free products like bread should be available subsidized on prescription. Cutting these products is just one of hundreds of cuts forced on the British people.

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    Honestly, this really doesn't surprise me. We in the UK are suffering massively because of the new skeleton NHS regime being handed out. If I wanted to be diagnosed officially with celiac it would probably take a year whilst they string the other tests out as wide and as far as possible. This bread is good, but honestly it costs just under £3.00 in the shop without prescription. I will never understand why people need it on prescription anyway - that would cost you over £7.00!

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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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