A CAMPAIGNER against lethal painkiller Nolotil has said it is still being handed out over the counter, despite health authorities banning its use without a prescription 12 months ago.
On the anniversary of the drug’s ban, medical translator Cristina Garcia del Campo revealed she was able to buy the painkiller in pharmacies widely on the Costa Blanca.
In a shocking study she found the drug available over the counter in Denia, Javea and other towns around Alicante province, without a prescription this summer.
“In Denia they are giving it left, right and centre now,” she told the Olive Press.
“They are even giving it to people who tell them specifically ‘I don’t want it’. They are coming out and they’ve been prescribed it.”
The study comes after the Spanish Medical Agency (AEMES) banned the medication’s sale without a prescription following a two-year campaign by the Olive Press, alongside a separate one by Cristina.
Nolotil, also known as Metamizol, is Spain’s most sold medical drug and is marketed as an alternative to Ibuprofen or Paracetamol.
However, the drug has been linked to numerous deaths and serious illnesses among British expats and tourists, from sepsis and a drop in white blood cell count.
The medication, which is usually harmless, is thought to particularly affect Northern Europeans with fair complexions.
It is already banned in the UK, Ireland and Sweden.
Garcia is now calling on the sale of Nolotil to be banned completely to people whose home country the drug is illegal in.
But she says she’s facing an uphill struggle against many Spanish health professionals who refuse to accept the danger the drug poses.
“The Spanish are convinced that Nolotil is a safe medication,” she said. “They just shrug their shoulders and say if you don’t want it, go away.”