PHARMACISTS have been accused of playing with the life of a little boy who needs cornflour to survive.
The parents of six-year-old George Morrison say he is being denied life-saving cornflour by pharmacists who have replaced it with an untested drug.
The little Darlington boy is one of only a handful of children in the UK to suffer from the rare and life-threatening glycogen storage disease (GSD).
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Without daily doses of cornflour, George could slip into a coma and die.
He is fed the household product around the clock in a bid to prevent dangerous symptoms caused by GSD.
The starch in cornflour creates a slow release of energy which stops the little boy from suffering liver damage or falling into a coma.
Pharmacists allegedly recently stopped dispensing the substance, instead offering an alternative that has not yet been tested on under-eights.
The youngster’s parents must now foot the bill for George’s constant cornflour consumption and say it is one more struggle they could do without.
Calling for pharmacists to reconsider the change of drug, Sam and Pete Morrison are questioning why George is being treated differently to other children who get life-saving medication via the NHS.
Mrs Morrison said: “If George gets low blood sugar, he will fit and requires urgent medical help.
“If it’s not caught quickly enough, George will fall into a coma and he will die.
“The ongoing medication that helps his condition is cooked cornflour – he takes 30g of cornflour several times a day and it is saving his life.
“We were getting it on prescription but the company that provided it stopped doing it and started doing something that hasn’t been tested on children under eight.
“We have a prescription from the doctor but no chemist in Darlington will dispense it to me as it’s apparently not on their lists anymore and they won’t get money back for it.
“It’s critical for George and they’re playing with his life - every child in this country is entitled to free prescriptions.
“I’m having to buy it in bulk from Morrisons but I don’t see why when it’s a life-threatening condition that needs this medication.
“It’s so frustrating, George is a lovely little boy and I just want to make sure he has a future.”
Mrs Morrison says this development is the latest in a long line of frustrations relating to the management of his condition.
The extremely rare disease is genetic and affects just a handful of children in the UK, meaning that research is scarce and knowledge limited.
For George’s parents, the battle to manage his condition has been exhausting and has had a huge impact on the entire family.
Mrs Morrison said: “Life with George is hard as it is an on-going battle to keep him safe – even if he picks up a tummy bug, he could end up in hospital.
“It’s so rare that doctors don’t know anything about the disease and we have to tell them about it.
“We hit a brick wall at every corner we turn – everything that’s been done for him is because of us going to conferences, learning about it and ringing consultants to tell them.
“Nobody is coming to us with ideas or supporting us and we feel so let down, it’s exhausting.”
George’s family are fundraising for a charity working to cure GSD. To donate, visit justgiving.com/curegsd.
The Northern Echo has been unable to get a response from organisations including the National Pharmacy Association, Darlington CCG and the Local Pharmaceutical Committee.