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Morden man Liaquat Aziz denied lifesaving Viagra prescription
A father of three could face an early death if a life saving prescription of Viagra is denied.
Liaquat Aziz, 61, from Morden, suffers from lung and cardiac disease causing his arteries to narrow with everyday tasks leaving him breathless.
Two years ago Mr Aziz was prescribed the stimulant, commonly known as viagra, which dilates his arteries allowing more oxygen to be carried to his muscles and improving his ability to carry out simple tasks.
The drug, commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction, was originally developed to help improve blood supply to the heart for people with angina.
He said: "I used to get breathless just sitting down.
"I would have difficulty taking showers and I would get breathless from cooking and normal day to day work.
"It has improved because I can now talk to you, before I would have to stop after every other word."
Despite doctors supporting its continuation and saying stopping the medication would threaten his life, Sutton and Merton Primary Care Trust (PCT) have said they will not be extending Mr Aziz's prescription of the £5,000 per year drug because there was not "enough clinical evidence or robust data" to support its approval.
Mr Aziz said: "It is the doctors who are saying I need this.
"I don’t understand, especially as I have been working for over 35 years and I have been paying tax.
"I’m angry because they are not admitting it’s because of funding - it’s got nothing to do with clinical need."
Prescription of the drug is not automatic and is at the discretion of individual PCTs.
This week MP Siobhain McDonagh spoke in the House of Commons in support of Mr Aziz in a bid to get the PCT to reverse their decision.
She said: "My local NHS would rather let him suffer than allow him the only drug that works on him.
"It would cost thousands of pounds a day to look after him in hospital, but they will not provide £5,000 to keep him out.
"They have behaved appallingly to him and treated me and my office with a basic lack of respect.
"We all know that the NHS is facing pressures it has not had to face before, but in this case Viagra is not a sex tablet; it is a life-saver."
As of April, PCTs who commission services to local areas will be abolished giving GPs the final say on prescribing drugs to patients.
A spokesman for NHS Sutton and Merton said: "Sutton and Merton PCT deeply regrets the distress this process has caused for Mr Aziz and his family.
"A panel of clinicians has met three times to consider Mr Aziz’s case in detail.
"On each occasion there was not enough clinical evidence and robust data to approve the treatment.
"We are very sorry that this decision has not been explained fully to Mr Aziz by a clinician.
"We are taking prompt action to make sure a meeting with Mr Aziz takes place as soon as is convenient for him."