As patients and the public learned about the new ruling regarding Bioidentical Hormone Replacement (BHR) and Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) treatment some of them wrote to The Straits Times. There was no response from the Ministry of Health (MOH) to any of the letters.
Why disallow hormone treatment? 25 April 2014, Ms Debra Bray
The writer lives in Indonesia and has been visiting Singapore for treatment with bioidentical hormones and natural desiccated thyroid. Her letter was heavily edited before publication. She has allowed her original letter to be published here:
|Medical Tourist seeks other destinations as Singapore Ministry of Health bans customized Bio-identical Hormones
Singapore is a world-class city, I have learned from visiting here 6 times in the past 3 years. I enjoy this futuristic city with a knowledge economy, clean water, good transportation, green initiatives, excellent education and health care and a quality of life most can only dream about. However, my impression is changing as I realize the Ministry of Health (MOH) is eliminating the prescription of customized or compounded bio-identical hormones by physicians and local pioneers in the international field of Pro-Aging Medicine. I wrote to the Ministry 3 months ago to ask officials why? I wondered if there had been a policy change? There has been no reply. This ban hurts both patients and doctors. It tarnishes the image of a world-class city. The main reason I have visited Singapore from Indonesia is to see my physician who has successfully relieved my symptoms of an underactive thyroid and menopause with natural thyroid medicine and customized bio-identical hormones. I have been using this medicine for the past 6 years. I am very thankful for both the professionalism and quality of the medicine I found in Singapore.
You may call me a “medical tourist” because I also spend money for hotels, dining and entertainment. And as a medical tourist – I’m free to go where I find the best health care; I left Bangkok 3 years ago for Singapore.
However, the term “medical tourist” doesn’t reflect my understanding and research that led me to a Singapore physician who could prescribe what I need to be healthy now, and prevent the risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and bone-density problems in the future. My career – as a science teacher and part-time professor – flourished – along with my health.
Hormones for women are far more complex than for men, and I wonder if MOH officials are shortsighted, or if health care for women is a lower priority. I would like to understand why the Singapore MOH is eliminating the prescription of bio-identical hormones by local physicians; I wonder if this ban is related to the influence of some pharmaceutical companies.
Ms Debra Bray, BSc, BA, MPhil (University of Cambridge)