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Vitiligo Treatment on NHS

The white patches of skin colouring on some people makes them stand out as different and raises curiosity among those not familiar with the condition. I'm sure that makes many sufferers uncomfortable and they'd rather be without the attention. So news of a possible cure for some is good news.

A treatment for Vitiligo has been developed and is in use in the USA. Moves are afoot to make the Ruxolitinib cream available in the UK through an NHS prescription as it has to be prescribed and it's use monitored by a doctor. My surgery answers the phone at millseconds past 8am with, " You are caller number 23". Will having Vitiligo get you past the receptionist triage and then ultimately gain you access to a doctor ? On the phone that is. I'm not sure they will regard Vitiligo as an emergency.

Test results quoted are that when applied twice a day almost half the sample showed improvement while after 3 months about 1 in 6 had achieved almost total success of repigmentation.

However, there are costs. The first being that some testees developed acne and/or a red rash at the area of application. Are the chances of this worth it? Well, also consider the financial outlay. A tube of cream in the USA costs approximately £1660. That's alot and how many are needed for a 3 months supply? Who will pay, you or the NHS? A few tubes could be the same as a replacement knee at a private hospital. Where should public money go? Skin colour or joint replacement for example. Who will make these judgements?

The EU is considering sanctioning it's use but only for over 12 year olds. I think that by that age any psychological foundations of damage would have been created.

I sympathise, and think that the treatment should be prescribed and monitored by a doctor. However, with the present shortage of public sector medical personnel and the Government's haemorrhaging of money in all areas can we afford to adopt this treatment? I don't think it will be considered a high priority. Perhaps it will be like some other body modifications which are considered cosmetic and for which the customer pays.


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