Critical drugs needed in QEH
DR MARIA AGARD has charged that critical drugs for the treatment of epilepsy, cancer and other possibly fatal diseases are being “withheld” from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for lack of money.
The doctor, who is the representative for Christ Church West, was speaking on a head for almost $256 million to the Ministry of Health, during debate on the Estimates Of Revenue And Expenditure in the House of Assembly yesterday.
Agard, a dental surgeon, said even though the country had been assured that all pharmaceutical distributors had been paid, there was a list of 76 out of stock drugs which were being withheld for lack of payment.
Referring to a number of drugs, including Cataflam, Agard said all were important drugs used to treat people with heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy and cancer.
Adding that she was not unreasonable “because I am part of the health industry and I know that some things arise”, Agard, however, said the Government should ensured that when they cut the vote to pharmaceuticals by $3 million, they had not disadvantaged people who needed access to critical drugs.
However, Minister of Health John Boyce, who piloted the head, denied that anyone, “particularly not this minister”, had said the pharmaceutical providers had been paid.
Crediting previous Minister of Health Donville Inniss for reducing the outlay of expenditure in pharmaceuticals from $50 million to $30 million in two years, Boyce said the Health Ministry continued “to seek efficiencies in the Drug Service and it has not been to the detriment in terms of the provision of quality drugs”.
“I leave the question of supply, provision of drugs in Barbados to the drug formulary committee. We look at, in the ministry, at the policy in respect to the provision of drugs and we continue to tweak the system to ensure that Barbadians are getting the best quality drugs at the best prices,” Boyce stressed. (HLE)