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Calls for compromise rejected

The MHRA ploughed ahead with the decision to withdraw co-proxamol despite calls by leading medical bodies to stop short of banning it.

Documents obtained by Pulse through the Freedom of Information Act make clear the strength of the opposition to the move to withdraw the drug's license.

Bodies including the RCGP, Royal College of Physicians,

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and British Society for Rheumatology urged a

compromise involving heavy

restrictions on its use.

They proposed a series of measures including reduction in pack size, restriction of prescriptions to patients who did not respond to paracetamol and stronger product information warnings.

The GPC, in its submission, insisted co-proxamol would

remain 'useful as a second-line analgesic'.

The RCGP wrote to the

MHRA to 'strongly urge' it not to withdraw the drug, saying it feared there was 'likely to be considerable impact on practices and patients if such a

highly prescribed drug were

restricted or withdrawn'.

Despite the alternatives offered, the agency went ahead with a full phase-out of co-

proxamol, to be completed by the end of the year. A spokesperson said that after considering all evidence, the 'risks of prescribing co-proxamol did not outweigh the benefits'.

'We looked at a number of

issues, including limited prescribing and smaller pack sizes, but evidence suggested these measures would be neither appropriate nor functional.'

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