No medicines for the patients
PANAMA. Patients at the Cancer Institute do not have enough medicines to treat their illnesses and alleviate their pain due to an admin...
PANAMA. Patients at the Cancer Institute do not have enough medicines to treat their illnesses and alleviate their pain due to an administrative hitch.
In Panama, approximately 3500 new cancer cases are diagnosed per year and the shortage of specialized medicine could seriously jeopardize the chances of survival for many of them.
According to the director, Jorge Lasso de la Vega, there were problems with the adjudication process to purchase new medications, but that has now been solved and money is now available to purchase more drugs.
He said the current drugs supply is low and the hospital is negotiating with the medications distributors to buy some more.
“We got the money and different drug distributors are negotiating with us, because the main problem is the supply of medications, due to their quick expiration date and their costs,” said the director.
The Pharmacy and Drugs Department of the Ministry of Health has helped the institute with the supply of specialized drugs, as well as local pharmacies and the Social Security, both of which are surveying which medications could be given to the hospital.
The director said that this strategy will help the hospital to treat the patients in the short term.
Currently the hospital spends approximately $12 million in different drugs, which should last a year.
De la Vega said that they are short of certain drugs that are very important for pain management such as morphine, talidomine and cyclosporine to mention a few.
“We are making millionaire purchases and because of that they have been delayed and I am asking the population to be patient. We are doing everything in our power to give a good level of attention to the public,” said De La Vega.
With regards to the special drugs to treat cancer the director said that they are beginning to receive some of them since last week and the hospital is sending its own trucks to collect the medications from other pharmacies.
The oncologist said that the Panamanian government together with other countries in the region is exploring the option of buying these drugs in bulk, to avoid the shortage of medications.
The program would potentially benefit a lot of people in Central America, but nothing has been agreed yet.