With a EU ban on the selling of all over the counter pain relief medications looking all but certain to be passed in Brussels later this month the government say Britain would have no choice but to follow the ruling. If passed it will mean that as from March this year anyone wishing to obtain even a simple packet of pain relief pills will only be able to get them with a prescription from their doctor.
Plans to tighten public access to pain relief medications follows the findings of a recent scientific study conducted in Germany where a team of scientists headed by German Professor Taugott Endon was set the task of finding out why so many people now have chronic muscular-skeletal conditions by the time they are just forty years old - by the year 2006 an estimated 28% of German adults at forty had the debilitating and painful chronic conditions. The answer the team arrived at? Easy access to pain relief medications.
Three main reasons were found, all three linked to painkillers.
Firstly the team believes that instead of people resting injuries after taking painkillers they start using injured areas without giving those injuries sufficient time to heal. With the absence of pain they seem to think there is no longer any injury there.
Secondly they point out that painkillers do not remove pain from the source of the injury. What they do is to stop pain signals from reaching the brain. A person will therefore take a painkiller to remove perhaps a pain from an injury to a back muscle, but might then incur a further separate injury, perhaps to their ankle, but be totally unaware of it because they are already being affected by the painkilling pill they've taken for their back. They will be placing strain on both their back and ankle, perhaps taking their dog for a walk, when they should be resting on a couch watching TV. They say that this refusal to rest injuries has meant that by the time people reach their early thirties many of them are on painkillers for one aching pain or another 24/7 never realising just how bad some of those injuries are becoming until the damage to them becomes so bad that no amount of painkillers are enough to ease their agony.
The third reason says the team is that people nowadays are so afraid of losing their jobs that even when they know they have injuries requiring rest from activity they will resort to buying and taking over the counter painkillers simply to avoid having to take a few days off work in the knowledge that there are many thousands of fit and healthy unemployed people much younger who are ready to take their place at the work station.
"It is comparable to a fire alarm going off in a building" says Professor Taugott Endon. He says, "Any sensible person at work who suddenly hears a fire alarm going off in the building will want to get out of the building immediately. That is why the fire alarm is made to produce a sound offensive to the ears, to get you to respond appropriately by vacating the building. Pain is also a kind of fire alarm except that it isn't there to tell you to move, it's telling you to rest an injury, unless it's something like a broken leg, in which case the pain is trying to tell you to phone for an ambulance.
"What painkillers do is to switch off that warning alarm. People take a painkiller because the pain is offensive to them in the same way that the fire alarm is offensive to their ears. The problem is that having switched it off they don't make their way out of the building to a place of safety. Instead they return to their work station and carry on working in the mistaken belief that by having switched off the fire alarm they have somehow put out the fire!"
The Prime Minister has made it absolutely clear that he disagrees with the findings of the study.
"This is yet another example of the namby pamby nonsense we have to put up with from Brussels," says Mr Cameron. "The best way to heal any kind of injury is hard work. Sitting around all day stretched back on a sofa watching TV and resting some simple injury like a prolapsed disc of the spine or a slightly broken neck only delays the healing process. What's needed is to get some blood circulating around the site of that injury, and the best way to do that is hard work. If it hurts then swallow a few painkillers. If there's still a few little aches, work through them just as millions of others do every day. I myself have a nasty cut on my finger. The pain is awful. Have I taken a month off work or gone running to my GP to ask for a certificate to claim ESA? No I have not, because I'm a manly man who will not desert my post at a time when Britain needs me.
"There's far too many malingerers in this country all thinking they should be paid ESA benefit just because they have minor health problems like broken necks. So how is it that I do not feel the pains those malingerers claim to have?
"We will of course continue to ensure that genuine cases, those where our government paid foreign doctors are able to feel the pain of their patients, will always receive all the help we can give them. That will not change for as long as I'm prime Minister of this civilised and caring Big society of mine. Ooooh, my finger is so sore."