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Category: Dysphagia

Gaviscon Shortages.

What is Gavison? Gaviscon is a drug that was created in the 60s to early 70s in order to treat acid reflux/LPR disease. It’s made up of 5 key ingredients: calcium carbonate, alginates, aluminum hydroxide, magnesium carbonate, and sodium bicarbonate. Gaviscon is a non-prescription medicine, which is taken by mouth to treat heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Gaviscon is one of the most popular brands used to treat these issues and works by forming a protective layer that floats on top of the contents of your stomach, therefore stopping stomach acid from escaping into your food pipe. Like antacids in general, Gaviscon is available as a solid, syrup, or tablet. It is produced and distributed in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and Malaysia by Reckitt Benckiser, in the US by GlaxoSmithKline, and in Canada.

Gaviscon Shortages

Reckitt Benckiser the manufacturer of many household brands like Dettol, Cilitbang, and Gaviscon has been accused by the Office of Fair Trading of creating a monopoly in the market for its heartburn drug Gaviscon.

Reckitt could be fined tens of millions of pounds. In Reckitt’s defense, they released a statement stating they believed that it competed fairly in all of its operations. The OFT moved against the company after a whistleblower made the allegation to BBC’s Newsnight in 2008.

However, if you go beyond all the smoke, mirrors, and jargon this is at the expense of the consumer who has to suffer whilst the giants play a game of monopoly on their health.

The former senior Reckitt executive claimed that the makers of Gaviscon maintained an effective monopoly on the market for years after the stomach medicine came off patent. So if that was the case where are their global shortages?

As someone who suffers from heartburn and Dysphagia, I am sick to the back teeth of excuses. I would buy anything to ease the discomfort regardless if it was a famous brand or not. What Reckitt Benckiser are doing is stopping the manufacturing of their cheaper product in favor of the dearer one to make more profits at the expense of the people that rely on the drug. The pharmacies that say they do not know why they are having shortages are trying to basically fool the consumer. They know full well why this drug is in short supply, but choose not to say.

A senior official at Reckitt Benckiser suggested certain people within the organization plotted to create obstacles to stop rival manufacturers from selling cheap generic copies. The whistleblower alleged the firm had “cheated the NHS” and could have saved it “millions of pounds”.

Reckitt Benckiser (RB) said in response to the OFT announcement: “The OFT has stressed that no assumptions should be made at this stage. RB believes it competes fairly and within the letter and spirit of the law in all of our operations, and has co-operated fully with the OFT throughout its inquiry. So if that is the case why is the UK NHS suing them?

“Gaviscon Advance is a second generation product, superior to ‘Gaviscon Original’. I was on the ‘Original’ for many years then had the upgrade to ‘Gaviscon Advance’ which was launched to provide patients with effective and long-lasting relief from heartburn and indigestion, thus replacing the cheaper version which was taken off the market.

“RB will now review the OFT statement and respond accordingly.” According to ‘RB’ Gaviscon was hit by a global shortage due to one key ingredient, a product that many people around the world rely on but cannot get. So you are telling me you can not farm algae anywhere else than Norway? These seaweed species are used to create medical-grade sodium alginate, which is the key ingredient in Gaviscon. “The shortage is a consequence of poor weather conditions and low harvest yields,” the company said in a statement. “Only alginates derived from a specific species have the precise characteristics to be used in the manufacture of effective heartburn and indigestion products such as Gaviscon.”

There should be other rival pharmaceutical companies that can produce better and cheaper alternatives and once they find themselves on the market I will be buying from ‘RB’ competitors because no one should have a gun pointing to their head that says buy from us or else. If the covid vaccine was invented in record time a dupe alternative for Gaviscon could also be invented.

Knowing what I know now I will be looking to buy less from this company across the board for all my household items.

Reckitt informed both customers about the shortage of sodium alginate and informed them they were working with supply partners to put products back on shelves. “Due to global supply chain challenges, we are experiencing shortages with some Gaviscon products. We are continuing to monitor supply and are working with our suppliers to improve availability,” a Coles spokesperson said.

Gaviscon said that “as a responsible company” it recognized its duty to produce unconstrained access to its product but, unfortunately, the shortage of medical-grade sodium alginate was impacting this. “We are working diligently with our supply partners to secure as much production as possible and will do our best to ensure our consumers, patients, and healthcare professionals have access to the heartburn and indigestion treatment they love and trust,” Gaviscon said.

Lemsip, which is also manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser, contains paracetamol and phenylephrine and is used for the temporary relief of symptoms of colds and flu, including body aches and pains, sore throat, headache, and nasal congestion. “Unfortunately, we are also currently experiencing supply chain issues for Lemsip, which means customers might not be able to find this product on our shelves. We understand the frustration for customers and are working hard with our supplier to improve availability as quickly as possible.”

Is that because the special lemon only grown in a certain area in Spain is not producing enough lemons because there are not enough bees?

The truth behind big supermarket shortage. NHS sues Gaviscon maker Reckitt Benckiser.

The NHS in England has launched legal action against Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of heartburn medicine Gaviscon.

According to High Court documents, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is leading the action on behalf of health authorities and primary care trusts. The Department of Health refused to comment on the subject of the suit. Reckitt Benckiser was fined £10m last year for abusing its dominant market position in the supply of heartburn remedies to the NHS. A spokesman for Reckitt said the company could not comment as it had not been served with any papers. Papers lodged at the High Court show Reckitt is being sued collectively by all 10 Strategic Health Authorities and 144 Primary Care Trusts in England, as well as Andrew Lansley as Secretary of State for Health.

‘Dominant position

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said in October last year that Reckitt had restricted competition in the supply of heartburn medicines.

The household products maker withdrew the original Gaviscon from the NHS in 2005 and patients were transferred to Gaviscon Advance Liquid. This happened after Gaviscon’s patent had expired, but before a generic name had been assigned to it, the OFT said. That meant that prescriptions were issued for Gaviscon Advance, rather than pharmacists being able to choose a cheaper generic alternative. The OFT’s inquiry followed an investigation by the BBC’s Newsnight program in 2008.

Gaviscon is one of the most heavily prescribed medicines within the NHS. Confidential papers leaked to the program by a whistleblower showed it was also very profitable, with a gross margin of 77% in 2003.

The chief executive of the OFT, John Fingleton, said at the time: “This case underlines our determination to prevent companies with a dominant position in a market from using their strength to seek to restrict competition from rivals”.In response to the OFT’s fine, Reckitt said that it had believed it was acting within the law at the time and respected the watchdog’s findings.

BBC News – NHS sues Gaviscon maker Reckitt Benckiser

NHS sue Gaviscon maker £90 m, ‘rip-off’ after costlier heartburn forced on doctors.

Andrew Lansley will claim compensation at the High Court for the millions allegedly overpaid The makers of Gaviscon are being sued for nearly £90million for overcharging the Health Service for the heartburn treatment. Reckitt Benckiser allegedly charged doctors for a more expensive version of the drug when a cheaper one was available.

The firm, which also produces the Nurofen, Clearasil, and Durex brands, has already been fined £10.2million by the Office of Fair Trading after admitting to breaking UK and EU competition law over its sale of Gaviscon to the NHS.

Now Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, ten strategic health authorities, and 146 primary care trusts are suing the pharmaceutical giant at the High Court for the millions they say were overpaid. The alleged abuse centres on Reckitt Benckiser’s Gaviscon Original treatment, one of the most commonly prescribed branded drugs on the NHS. The product’s patent was due to run out in 2005, allowing rival firms to produce copycat versions, known as ‘generics’, for a vastly lower price.

But Reckitt took steps that appeared to block this process.

It removed Gaviscon Original from the NHS-approved list of drugs, but it did not propose a generic name for the drug which would have helped a cheap replacement version to come onto the market.

Instead, it put forward a more expensive Reckitt Benckiser product, Gaviscon Advance, which was still within the patent. Doctors wishing to prescribe a treatment for heartburn had no other option available. Yet Gaviscon Original remained on sale and could be picked up over the counter in pharmacies.

The person who leaked the documents said at the time: ‘Reckitt cheated the Health Service. ‘It could have saved the NHS millions of pounds. I felt it had to be exposed.’

Gaviscon is one of the most prescribed drug brands in Britain The NHS spends a fifth of its annual £110billion budget – around £22billion – on drugs. The Commons public accounts committee has estimated the NHS could save £200million a year without affecting patient care by GPs prescribing lower-cost but equally effective treatments.

Surely there has to be an alternative rather than letting patients suffer?

Reckitt Benckiser said it was ‘shocked’ by the allegations, adding: ‘Reckitt Benckiser is a responsible company.’ If it was responsible why are people suffering at the expense of this pharmaceutical company?

Although it denied cheating the NHS, it admitted anti-competitive behavior and said it was ‘unhappy with some of the language and the sentiment … in the [leaked] internal correspondence, which is inappropriate.

The amount of money sought from Reckitt Benckiser – £90million – coincidentally matches the pay and rewards package of its boss Bart Becht, one of the best-rewarded chairmen of an FTSE100 company. Becht, a Dutchman, has led Reckitt Benckiser since the company was formed in 1999 through the merger of Britain’s Reckitt & Colman and Holland’s Benckiser. He once said that his company makes ‘very stupid products.

Becht is famous not only for his huge salary but also for his generosity to charity. In 2009 he gave stock options worth £110million to good causes.

If he is reading this he can donate here considering I rely on the drug and am in discomfort.

https://www.managementtoday.co.uk/gaviscon-scam-claims-hard-digest-reckitt-benckiser/article/985844

#gaviscon #gavisconadvanced #gavisconshortages #nhssues #ReckittBenckiser #ReckittBenckiserbeingsued #nhssuesReckittBenckiser

Coping With Life When You Are Disabled.

Copying With life When You Are Disabled.

I have this methology “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. I am not the type of person to whinge and moan, I just make the most of what I have and try to get on with it.

I always keep myself busy and set goals. However my physical and mental disabilities are obstacles that daily I have to get round.

My OCD is by far one of my prominent disabilities and have designed a quarantined cocoon area where only I have access to. This area allows me to be free of any anxieties that I would have in the normal environment. I have adopted this practice to save cleaning my whole home from top to bottom day in and day out. Believe me I used to clean from top to bottom every single day until I realised I was wasting valuable time doing something else.

Keeping myself busy does help to block out intrusive thoughts to a certain degree. I am the worlds worse for critising myself. I try to brain train to reason with myself that what I do is ridiculous and out of character to normal people, but it all is related to stress, anxiety and depression. Depending how stress I am under will depend how well my day will be. If I am super stressed, I find that I cannot concentrate and even do minuscule tasks.

My OCD is germ contamination related and I am even more conscious of my surrounding and the things that I touch. I dislike people visting me and visa versa. I prefer not to go out, hence I am not going out any time soon pandemic regulations or not.

I actually wrote an article on my other blog about germ awareness and cross contamination: https://marketingagency.cymrumarketing.com/2021/02/16/saliva-and-mail-cross-contamination-of-germs/

As for my other disabilities:

  • Cerebellar Atrophy (I lose my balance or grip and muddle my words up especially when I write, I also have mental blocks).
  • OCD (I am aware of germ cross contimination and and am careful what I touch).
  • Social Disconnection (I prefer my own company and not go out and socialise, although we can’t anyway but you get my drift).
  • PTSD (I have flashbacks of the physical and mental trauma I endured in the past and certain things trigger my depression).
  • Clinical Depression (This is related to past physical and mental trauma I endured, in which there are days where I go to a dark place).
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (I cannot bend my knee, again from past physical trauma/abuse).
  • Dysphagia (I sometimes choke of food, I get a painful feeling followed by trouble swallowing and breathing and only when the food is dislodged does the feeling subside, gross I know but what can I do? I have been told I could have surgery but there is no gauarantee that it would work. I am not going to go under the knife for anything, I can tell you that for sure).
  • Epidural Analgesia (Chronic Back Pain, even bending down to feed the cat makes my back spasm, the same goes if I am standing for excessive length of time I have shooting pains from the small of my back to the nape of my neck. Simple taskes like taking out the rubbish or bringing in the grocery shopping has brought tears to my eyes in the past).

So yes I have good days and bad days but I do not dwell on my ailments and try to live the best way I can. I adapt to around my disabilities. Fortuantely for me I offer digital services so I can do 100% of my work online and do not have to venture out.

Stress and worry are contributing factors to my OCD, PTSD, Depression and Social Disconnection.

  • Getting headaches (I have regular headaches)
  • Having stomach cramps (I have a bad stomach most days, but that can be from drinking energy drinks to keep me awake).
  • Not being able to sleep (I find my medication helps me sleep but it takes a few hours for me to wind down, hence I watch a film or play a game, I also read books from time to time).
  • Feeling pains in your chest (I do not get them often but when I do it is scary as I have also experienced jaw ache and shooting pain down my left arm in the past). I have had an ecg scan done and the doctor said there was nothing wrong, yet the same doctor also prescribed antacid ‘Gaviscon’ to my daughter even though she was later diagnosed with MS after I admitted her into A&E.
  • Having constant worring (If I do not keep myself busy I do worry hence I try to keep my mind occupied all the time). Worrying only makes your health deteriorate and although life struggles can get in the way of your happiness, one needs to find a way to tackle the problem we are faced with, rather than sweep them under the carpet. Confronting your inner demons makes you stronger. Sometimes simply writing down your problems is the first step to dealing with whatever is on your mind. Talking to a friend or family member also helps but for me expessing my emotions in the form of a blog is theraputic in itself.
  • Having panic attacks (I only get these if I have to meet negative people). People that judge or critise, you know the people I am talking about or if I have a deadline in work or something that I have seen or heard that has triggered the onset of sheer panic. However for most part I am organised and know to how to avoid trigger warnings, so panic attacks are subdued.
  • Feeling shortness of breath, (I only get this if I cannot swallow due to my Dysphagia or at times when I have in the past been in distress, due to the trauma and abuse I endured).
  • Having mood swings with friends or family (I avoid socialising so no one knows my moods and no one can be on the tail end if I do have a bad day).
  • Finding it hard to feel happy (Continuously reassuring myself and staying positive that what I am doing will eventually change my life for the better, is enough to motivate me to get up and tackle every day tasks).

Although I was going to do a daily/weekly journal of my health, I am not able to do so at present as I have many projects I am working on and simply do not have the time, but I always try to strive to stay focused and optimistic that tomorrow will be a better day.

Obviously adopting a healthy lifestyle can help with coping with life struggles, such as:

  • Regular Exercise
  • Breathing Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Eating Healthily
  • Brain Training
  • Learning New Things
  • Staying Focused
  • Being Organised
  • Setting Goals
  • Time Management
  • Avoiding Negative People
  • Learning to Trust People
  • Motivation
  • Talking to Family and Friends About Your Troubles
  • Discussing your Problems with Professionals, Health, Finance, Relationships etc

Final Thoughts!

I am a disabled entrepreneur and I have created a business round my disabilities. The way I saw it when I first started out, I would not fit in or be accepted in a normal working enviroment and I am the most happiest I have ever been for a long time doing what I do and it works for me. So the way I see it is my disabilities are a blessing in disguise, as I would not be where I am today without them.

I avoid negative judgemental people especially if they have power trips (Trolls especially that have nothing better to do than try an bring a person down, these get immediately blocked).

As for me I will help anyone that genuinely needs my help. I am very good at analysing people and situations and I am very astute.

Stay safe, stay focused and stay motivated, nothing stays the same forever unless you let it…

Dysphagia.

Dysphagia is the medical term for problems with swallowing food and drink.

Some people find it difficult to swallow certain foods or liquids, while others can’t swallow at all, other side effects include: coughing or choking when eating or drinking. bringing food back up, sometimes through the nose.

I know this may sound horrifying or even disgusting but on and off depending on what food I eat and if I have taken small bites will determine if I do not have the feeling I am choking and that food is stuck and won’t go up or down. This usually occurs if the food is dry and if I have taken large bites. Normally I have to chew my food like a cow chewing grass. Eventually, it gets monotonous and I lose the enjoyment of the food I eat. If only there was a pill form where you could choose your meat and veg and have the taste and nutrition plus the feeling you have had a slap-up meal all in one.

In fact, In 1936 the Jefferson City Post-Tribune ran an article recounting the views of Dr. Milton A Bridges of Columbia University. In it, he declared: “Human beings are never going to eat pills for meals” (why not? I would try it for certain) he went on to say “pills can never be made to contain sufficient caloric volume”.

Reading this I would find this would be an idyllic solution to my problem, popping a pill saving time sourcing the produce, cooking, and then chewing, not to mention losing weight in the process with the low-calorie count, how wonderful that would be. Imagine your gas or electric energy bill would also drop in the process. But this is not an ideal world and the Government and the Economy would be affected hence it is never going to happen, not in my lifetime anyway. This would also solve world hunger but one would need to have calories as our bodies need on average of 2000 calories per pay so we would have to pop around 400 pills per day just for calories alone. (My theory if that was the case would be to crush them and mix them up as a smoothy formula).

To think how many hours we waste shopping for groceries, packing and unpacking, preparing and cooking, and then sitting and eating for me I could be doing something else as time is precious. Imagine how much packaging we could eliminate from our lives whilst saving the planet in the process.

What is the likely cause of the dysphagia?

Certain disorders such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s disease can cause dysphagia. Neurological damage. Sudden neurological damage, such as from a stroke or brain or spinal cord injury, can affect your ability to swallow.

I wonder if this may be linked to Cerebellar Atrophy & Epidural Analgesia? I am not an expert but it seems a bit of a coincidence that I have the above ailments and find it difficult to swallow at times.

How to Treat Dysphagia includes:

  1. Exercises your swallowing muscles.
  2. Evaluate your Diet and perhaps change the foods you eat. (Don’t know if there is a recipe for a full english breakfast smoothy).
  3. Dilation.
  4. Endoscopy. ( I had this proceedure done they made me swallow barium and then they stuck a camera down my throat), besides this is for diagnosis purposes and not for ment as a cure.
  5. Surgery. (Not guaranteed to be a successful and you may have to repeated surgeries).
  6. Medicines. ( I have been prescribed Gaviscon Advanced Mint tablets, as I suffer with acid reflux which is also associated Dysphagia.

Further reading can be found here:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/swallowing-problems-dysphagia/