LETHAL painkiller Nolotil is being sold in Gibraltar despite being banned in the UK and other parts of Europe.
It comes after a medical investigation by health researcher Cristina Garcia del Campo and two years’ worth of Olive Press stories linked the drug to at least 10 deaths and several near-deaths of British and northern European patients.
The drug – also known as Metamizole – is believed to attack the immune system by depleting the patient’s white blood cells.
While not yet banned in Spain it is currently under investigation and is unlicenced in the UK, US, France, Australia and elsewhere.
Incredibly though, the Olive Press this week found a number of pharmacies still apparently handing out the drug on the Rock.
An undercover Olive Press journalist was told the drug was available or ‘sometimes in stock’ in at least three pharmacies.
An employee at Wesley Pharmacy told a journalist he could be given the painkiller with a prescription.
A parallel investigation by GBC found six pharmacies selling the drug, and was able to buy a packet for £2.50.
The Gibraltar government is now looking into several pharmacies for illegally selling the painkiller.
It came after one Gibraltarian, who asked to remain anonymous, said she was sold the drug at a pharmacy in March without a prescription.
“The man just sold it to me and said with the amount of pain I was in it would be stronger,” she told the Olive Press this week.
“I was also taking 600mg ibuprofen and 500mg paracetamol but he suggested I should take the Nolotil instead of paracetamol.”
Another Gibraltar resident also confirmed she took the drug on the Rock.
“I go to the chemist and just buy them, never heard of needing a prescription,” she said.
While we launched a campaign to have the drug regulated in Spain last summer, health campaigner Cristina Garcia del Campo took up her own investigation and has managed to take some of our case studies and around 100 more to the country’s top health chiefs.
A decision on whether to bring in new regulations is imminent.
It came after we reported how the drug left several British expats dead or fighting for their lives.
Benalmadena-based Hugh Wilcock, 80, had to plan his own funeral after being prescribed the drug for pain relief following several back operations.
But six weeks into taking the pills, he developed sores on his forehead and felt weaker and weaker until he had to be rushed to Malaga’s University hospital, where he remained in intensive care for weeks until his immune system recovered.
He is just one of dozens who have been brought close to death.
The Gibraltar government did not get back to us as we went to press.