LETHAL UK-banned painkiller Nolotil, responsible for the deaths of dozens of British holidaymakers and expats, is finally being regulated in Spain.
In a breakthrough move, The Spanish Medicine Agency (AEMPS) has finally issued a directive to all healthcare bodies to stop giving the drug to British and Irish tourists.
Expats living in Spain will also only be administered Nolotil on a short term prescription, and after a detailed analysis of the patient’s medical history and heritage.
Those taking it will also be closely monitored.
The Olive Press launched an investigation in 2017 into the mysterious deaths of British expats and holidaymakers after taking the drug, along with a 1,000-strong petition to have it regulated.
Medical translator, Cristina Garcia del Campo, who has worked tirelessly for almost a year to pull together hundreds of case studies from victims for the AEMPS’ probe, said she was ‘very happy’ the authorities have finally reacted.
“I am very happy that the problem has been acknowledged and dealt with,” she told the Olive Press, “I will be making sure that the AEMPS recommendations are carried out and if necessary make sure it’s banned completely.”
Nolotil, also known as Metamizole, is banned in the UK, the US and most of Europe.
Yet the drug is still one of the most popular painkillers in Spain, despite various side effects, including sepsis and agranulocitosis – a rapid drop in white blood cells, leaving patients unable to fight infections.
Following the shocking results of her rigorous investigation – including victims losing fingers due to sepsis – Garcia del Campo demanded the health body that the drug must not be sold without a prescription and a detailed patient analysis.
“I asked for a number of things – to make sure all fronts were covered and basically, they have done everything I asked,” added the Alicante-based translator.
“The AEMPS said they were evaluating the possibility of carrying out a broad study, so there is still work to be done, but I wanted to make sure that enough was done to protect people in the meantime.
“I know for a fact that many lives have already been saved and this will continue to be the case.”
The Olive Press began investigating the drug after a trio of expat families told us how their relatives had died unnecessarily in excruciating pain, after taking the drug in Andalucia.
In April, the paper revealed the first steps towards regulation had been taken, with Marina Salud, a big health network in Alicante, issuing a warning to stop administering the drug to British, Irish and Scandinavian patients.
The Hospital Costa del Sol in Marbella confirmed it was also ‘aware’ of the side effects to patients in June.