For anyone not following regularly, I have previously blogged about my concerns over the supply of prescriptiion only medications that can be obtained with ease through online pharmacies. It was this ease of purchase that almost killed me.
I’ve written to the PM, department of health and just today I received a phone call from the GPhC (UK pharmacy regulator).
Now I have a bit of an ethical dilemma. Do I give them consent to raise my concerns and personal data with the companies involved and thus in all likelihood stop my supply source or do I withold consent, allowing them only to vaguely carry out their investigations.
In truth the issue is with the prescribing of these meds which does not come under the remit of the GPhC. The GPhC could however update their policies to improve the safety of prescribing such meds.
On one hand, I’m not quite ready yet to cut off my own supply, but on the other, I do not wish for any other vulnerable person to succeed in the way that I almost did.
I wrote in a previous blog (No. 120) about my concerns over how easy it is to purchase prescription medications online in the UK. This ease of purchase nearly killed me, and is a constant threat to my future well being. Indeed as previously stated, I wrote to the Prime Minister.
My concerns have gained some momentum. I recieved the following email today.
Dear Doctor ———–,
My name is ———– and I am the Senior Policy Adviser on the Enforcement Group at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – we are the Government regulator responsible for medicines and medical devices, an Agency of the Department of Health and Social Care.
I am contacting you in relation to you letter of 30th September concerning purchasing medicines online. I am sorry to learn of your distress and hope that I can at least offer some assistance and support.
The digital healthcare area is complex and straddles regulatory boundaries – there are areas of concern within Government and I have been working with other regulators – the Care Quality Commission (regulators of healthcare services), the General Pharmaceutical Council (regulators of pharmacists and pharmacies), the General Medical Council (for doctors registration) and our counterparts in the Devolved Administrations. Sadly, yours is not the first nor only example of supply of Controlled Drugs / Prescription only medicines in this way. This presents significant risks to patient safety and we are reviewing the legislative framework in UK and importantly, identifying the gaps. In order to investigate this, I would be grateful for additional information;
As Zopiclone requires a prescription, did you have one and submitted that, or were you offered an online consultation with a doctor through the website and the medicine was prescribed remotely?
Please provide the names / links to the sites.
Many of the points you raise are the responsibility of the General Pharmaceutical Council – as above, GPhC is responsible for activities in a registered pharmacy and, as I want to ensure you receive a full explanation and action can be taken, I need to contact GPhC and also alert the Care Quality Commission and General Medical Council. I wanted to check with you that I can share information with them. I wish to thank you for raising your justifiable concerns on this matter and I look forward to receiving your reply.
I’m not going to let this go. Companies will be named and shamed. I worry for the safety of my future self and the safety of others with similar mental health demons.
I’ve said this before; the UK’s online pharmacy market is dangerous. Members of the general public can with relative ease, obtain prescription medications with minimal cost. Except the cost is potentially not minimal; I almost lost my life! For vulnerable adults like myself who don’t always think rationally or clearly, this is a potentailly fatal system.
So………………… I wrote to the Prime Minister. I recieved a reply yesterday.
If you read it, you’ll probably agree with me, that I’ve been fobbed off somewhat. Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day. Tomorrow I will write to our Secretary of State for Health and Social Care; Matt Hancock, and I will raise a concern with the GPhC (General Pharmaceutical Council)
I’ve just logged into my personal email account for the first time in a couple of weeks and glaring back at me was the banner; “10% off your next order”.
Using the seemingly charming celebrity Dr. Christian Jessen as their poster boy! (surely he can’t really be affiliated with this high risk venture); Dear loopy, for being such a loyal customer we would like to offer you 10% off your next suicide attempt.
Oddly I was only chatting about the unregulated online pharmacy market earlier, and it’s dangers.
The last thing I need right now is such tempatations…………… I’m feeling a little vulnerable…………………
(Now added to my To Do list; Contact Dr. Jessen directly about this…)
Today I had family leave. Today was the day to rip off the band aid and return home. Back to the sitting room and kitchen where around 6 weeks ago, I sat and wrote a suicide note, left out bowels of food and water for my dog, and consumed several packets of sleeping tablets. I knew it would be difficult.
It felt odd being back there. I was calm whilst there, made small talk with OH, drank tea, put the telly on and petted my dog. I held back my emotions whilst with OH but now that I’ve returned to the sanctuary of the ward, I’m struggling to process it all.
I can remember that day, and now, on one hand I feel tremedous guilt for almost putting OH and little man through all that, and on the other hand returning to some sort off normal life seems like an unsomountable mountain.
We face timed with litttle man whilst I was there and Granny has had his hair cut. He looks completely different; all grown up. I feel like I’m missing it all and there’s that terrible mother shame again. I also feel like our bond may be irreparable. I do love him though. I just want the best for him and I don’t think having me as a mother is best.
I’ve put them all through so much already that I feel like a huge burden and It would be easier for everyone if I wasn’t around. I can tell OH is stressed. Indeed I can tell both of our families are stressed, and it’s all my fault.
I’ve asked for PRN, and I’ve calmed alittle.
I guess tomorrow is another day, and I see my physcologist tomorrow.
OH has just popped in for a vist and as such we thought it would be a good idea to facetime with little man who’s over with his Granny. Hiya Daddy! he exclaimed as he came to the phone. He’s never called me Mum or mummy of anything like that and it shouldn’t upset me, but it does.
Little man is doing so well with his gulladuff grandparents at the moment that I know he’d be o.k if I left him now. I’m no good for him, and I feel like he hates me. He’s not even 2 yet but he doesn’t show me the same enthuasism that he seems to show Daddy, and I think that’s because he doesn’t like me very much.
Feeling quite suicidal right now. Definately feeling the urge to self harm. I should really speak to someone.
For anyone following, first of all thank you. 50 posts now but I’m still on my journey to find that elusive satisfaction with life, that will stop me wanting to end it. Just to be clear, I don’t want material things, I just want to stop hating myself.
I am now on Queitipine twice a day on top of my usual mirtazapine and twice daily diazepam. The Quieitipine should be a mood stabilizer and I am finding that yes it does indeed stabilize ones mood. The problem is that it appears to have done so at my lowest end of the spectrum. I’m feeling very low today. Missed breakfast and only just got up in time for lunch being served. I tried on like 3 T-shirts when I got up, but they were too tight. The ugly person staring back at me in the mirror, discouraged me from eating much.
I also sat in my room for a bit before leaving it for lunch breathing into a Maoam sweets plastic bag to see if I could pass out, well not quite pass out but start to feel hypoxic. I couldn’t get a tight enough seal around my face. I need a bigger bag.
I barely slept last night, maybe that’s why I’m being odd today.