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No chemo drug

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No chemo drug

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CANCER?patients, especially those suffering with breast cancer, have not been receiving their chemotherapy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). The hospital has run out of the drug Paclitaxel.
The drug, which kills cancer cells, has not been available for the past two weeks, and patients who require it are being sent home without being told when it will be available.
 None of the local suppliers contracted to provide the drug to the QEH have it in stock, and Barbados Drug Service officials were not aware of this until yesterday.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Irene Sandiford-Garner, confirmed yesterday that the hospital did not have the drug. She explained that an order had been recently placed and that the hospital was awaiting word from its suppliers.
However, an upset Sandiford-Garner said investigations would be done to determine when QEH officials realized the supply was low.
“There needs to be a better monitoring of the suppliers. We cannot have a situation where there are no drugs available in the country,” she stated.
An affected patient told the MIDWEEK NATION yesterday that it was two weeks she had not received chemotherapy.
She said she was required to have six doses of chemotherapy every two weeks, but when she went last week to the radiotherapy department, she was simply told that the hospital did not have the drug and she could not be treated. She said she was not even told when she could return.
The woman, who pointed out that she pays $410 for the drug, which is administered as an infusion into the vein, said she was upset because she had taken 12 pills in preparation for the chemotherapy and had also called the hospital the day before to find out if her blood tests were okay, so that she could have the treatment.
“They told me that the test results were good, but they never told me that the drug was not available. I?had to take 12 pills – six the day before and six that morning . . . . My stomach was all messed up. I was out for three days,” she stated.
Her equally upset husband added: “These are persons fighting for their lives. How can the hospital run out of such an important drug and nobody can say when it will be available?”
A check with suppliers Biokal and Collins Ltd also revealed that they did not have the drug in stock. An official of Biokal said an order had been placed, but that it could “take a while”, while a Collins Ltd official stated:?“We have no idea when it will be back in stock; but it is on order.”
Paclitraxel is a generic of Taxol. It is administered in a hospital only and must be given on a fixed schedule.