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UK Gluten-free Bread Dustup: Forty Bucks a Loaf?
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.
The 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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Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams
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