UK campaigns for free hormone replacement therapy during menopause

UK campaigns for free hormone replacement therapy during menopause


In a few weeks, women in the UK will gather in Parliament Square in London to support the menopause bill to demand free prescriptions for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in England. 

The bill aims to assist thousands of women to access the treatment, many of whom are currently unable due to mandatory costs.

HRT replaces the oestrogen, progesterone (and at times, testosterone) women lose while going through menopause. 

They also ease common symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings. 

In England, the medications are subject to the prescription fee of £9.35 ($17) per item.

HRT has long been considered controversial, with a series of misleading reports linking the treatment to a risk of breast cancer and dementia.

A British Medical Journal paper released last week found that there was no association between hormone replacement and an increased risk of developing dementia. 

“A combination of medical sexism, hysterical reporting and outdated science has held women back from asking for the health care they need,” Kate Muir explained in The Guardian. 

“Hormone replacement therapy used to be a dirty word. Now it’s a battle cry.” 

In Scotland and Wales, NHS prescriptions for HRT are free. 

In June, Welsh Labour MP Carolyn Harris introduced a Private Members’ Bill in Parliament which aims to remove the fees for HRT products in England.

The Ginsburg Women’s Health Board last month launched the #Free-HRT campaign, joining calls for the fees to be scraped. 

“This brilliant initiative from the Ginsburg Women’s Health Board is another great step towards achieving it,” Harris said. 

The Ginsburg Women’s Health Board, based in London, works to help close the gender gap in UK healthcare and improve public education to enable women to know their bodies better.

The organisation’s co-founder Nimco Ali believes women who require the treatment should not be financially penalised.

“The menopause is a reality for women and not a choice,” she said. “It is medical misogyny to exclude HRT from prescriptions that are free.”

In Australia, around 13 per cent of Australian women aged 50-69 take hormone therapy treatments for menopause.

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