Wednesday 22 November 2017

Cancer drugs to 'arrive by tomorrow'

The HSE said a “contingency plan would remain in place” until the drugs were available. (Stock photo)
The HSE said a “contingency plan would remain in place” until the drugs were available. (Stock photo)

Gavin White

A pharmaceutical company has pledged that it will have stocks of vital chemotherapy drugs available by tomorrow.

More than 60 cancer patients have had their chemotherapy treatment postponed or reduced for up to a week as hospitals struggle to cope with a shortage of chemotherapy drugs.

Baxter Healthcare, the only commercial supplier of this form of compounded chemotherapy in the country, had to stop production for the past two weeks as a result of manufacturing problems.

Last night, Baxter Healthcare said it had informed customers it would be returning to production of compounding chemotherapy today.

"We will be working closely with customers to fulfil orders we have in our system for the week. In addition we have some product arriving into Dublin from our UK network which will be available to customers by Tuesday, May 23," a spokesperson said.

"We would once again like to express our sincere apologies to patients and clinicians."

The HSE said a "contingency plan would remain in place" until the drugs were available.

This plan relies on inter-hospital relationships, with hospitals providing each other with drugs where necessary.

A spokesperson for the HSE said they were unable to provide updated figures on how many have been affected.

The HSE confirmed on Saturday that 65 cancer patients have had their chemotherapy sessions "rescheduled as clinically appropriate".

Donal Buggy, head of advocacy and services for the Irish Cancer Society, told the Irish Independent that the debacle had caused patients anxiety.

"It's important we recognise that when someone is diagnosed with cancer, there is a lot of worry about treatment and outcome and they feel that having that treatment interrupted obviously adds in an additional layer of distress - especially when it's totally unnecessary," he said.

Irish Independent

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