Man Forced to Eat Once a Day to Afford Life-Saving Medicine

A 62-year-old man from Kent, Paul Elcombe, has been limiting himself to one meal per day to stretch his medication supply due to a shortage of the drug Creon. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spokesperson acknowledged the supply issues and stated that they are collaborating with the manufacturer to address and resolve the situation. Paul’s body doesn’t produce sufficient enzymes to digest food properly, so he relies on tablets to aid in the digestion of his meals.

The government is aware of Creon’s ceaseless, unreliable supply issues and is actively investigating ways to address and manage the crisis. The DHSC has implemented a serious shortage protocol (SSP) for Creon, recognizing the severe scarcity of this particular medication.

Paul has experienced weight loss and a constant feeling of being unwell since reducing his meal portions. He has been to multiple pharmacies in the past six months but has been unsuccessful in restocking his supply. Instead, he has had to limit himself to only having dinner as his meal of the day to extend the duration of his medication.

Alfie Bailey-Bearfield, a representative from Pancreatic Cancer UK, expressed concern over the potential consequences of sporadic shortages of Pancreatic Enzyme Replacement Therapy (PERT), which is crucial for individuals diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, just like insulin is indispensable for those with diabetes. The challenges of acquiring a sufficient supply of PERT can lead to feelings of distress and anxiety.

Patients often find themselves frustrated by hopping from one pharmacy to another in an attempt to have their prescriptions filled. Community pharmacies and their patients are currently experiencing extremely urgent medicine supply challenges, and not having access to necessary medications can have severe consequences for certain patients, potentially requiring them to visit the emergency room.

Pharmacies are making every effort to find solutions for their patients, but they are unable to address the more significant supply issues at a national and global level.