Shortage of Essential Cancer Drugs (Video)

Friday, 19 June 2020 - 1:41


It was reported to the Hiru new team that there is a shortage of essential drugs for cancer patients.

Our investigation revealed that one of these drugs, Paclitaxel (PTX), has not yet been released to hospitals, despite it being available with the Ministry of Health's medical supply division.

On May 15th, the Cancer Specialists Association had written to the Director General of Health Services, stating that there is a shortage of drugs in the Apeksha hospital, Maharagama, which is the main hospital in Sri Lanka for treating cancer patients.

The letter mentioned a shortage of seven essential drugs for cancer treatment, including Doxorubicin, Docetaxel (DTX or DXL), Paclitaxel (PTX), Methotrexate and Vinblastine (VBL).

It is reported that although some of these drugs were provided currently cancer patients are suffering from a shortage of drugs such as Paclitaxel (PTX), Doxorubicin and Methotrexate.

Meanwhile, the Hiru news team investigated regarding Paclitaxel (PTX) a drug commonly used in breast cancer, lung cancer, and ovarian cancer, which is not released to the hospitals even though it is available in the medical supply’s division.

It was revealed that since there was a shortage of glass bottles required when the drug is administered to patients, the distributions has been stopped.

The medical supply’s division had contacted the Cancer Specialists Association regarding a possible alternative.

The Cancer Specialists Association had made recommendations to the Medical Supplies Division on the 29th.

According to international guidelines, the drug can be administered to patients through special plastic bottles that are not glass.

However, inquiries from the respective hospitals confirmed that the Paclitaxel (PTX) drug had not been supplied to the hospitals even 18 days after the relevant recommendations had been submitted.

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