The first call to ban Nolotil, a pain-reliever popular in Spain, came from The Olive Press which launched a campaign against the popular drug back in August last year. The pills were held responsible for a number of deaths – oddly, all British visitors to Spain. The item read in part ‘...the drug seems to mostly affect people of fair skin, from the likes of the UK and Scandinavia, by poisoning their bone marrow and destroying their white blood cells...’. Could this be the case, a drug which could adversely affect fair-skinned people, yet be only found to be efficacious to those of a darker complexion?
It would appear so. Metamizol, the active ingredient in Nolotil, is banned in the UK, the USA and Australia says Soitu here.
Despite a petition at Change.org (which appears to have died – as they do), the Spanish health authority had until now ignored the situation, but this has now changed. El Español reports here that Nolotil and its imitators (Metamizol Aristo is one of them) is to be restricted in its sale at the pharmacies from northern visitors - essentially, Brits won't be able to buy it any more. The drug can bring on a blood condition called neutropenia, says the article, but it has only been found (apparently) in 'Anglo-Saxons'. The Times of London reports this week that ‘Tourists will be banned from taking a popular painkiller in Spain after the deaths of 10 Britons who had taken the drug’. Thus the Spanish pharmaceutical association AEMPS has asked doctors not to prescribe the drug to 'the floating population, where controls can't be made'. That's to say - to tourists.