An investigation is underway after five Canadian hospitals realized that more than 1,100 cancer patients received the wrong dosage of chemotherapy drugsâsome for as long as a year. Now, peoplesâ trust in the Canadian healthcare system is shaken.
âWhat is the implication of that dilution? Does it mean it would affect the outcomes of peopleâs treatment, their longevity,â Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP) Leader Andrea Horwath told the Globe and Mail.
Five hospitals are still trying to figure out how so many patients received watered-down chemotherapy dosages and how it will impact their health. Some of the patients had been receiving the low dosages since February 2012, when incorrect amounts of saline were added to chemotherapy drugs, effectively watering down the dosage.
But itâs clear that this drug scare can cost lives. âItâs important to note that chemotherapy preparation and delivery is a complex process and as a result of this complexity, there are sources for potential error,â Dr. Carol Sawka, Cancer Care Ontarioâs vice-president of clinical programs and quality initiatives, said in a statement. âWe have put in many steps to minimize these potential sources of error and we will continue to ensure that patient safety and high quality care are the focus and the strength of the system.â
After the error was found, the hospitals immediately notified patients, and the drug supplier, Marchese Hospital Solutions, about the problem. The patients are currently receiving the correct treatments, but are concerned about what happened.
In Canada, the federal government is in charge of monitoring drugÂ manufacturers and the provincial governments manage pharmaceutical companies. Marchese is a private company in charge of mixing the chemotherapy drugs at those hospitals and so it wasnât monitored by anyone in particular. Since Marchese is neither a pharmaceutical company nor a drug manufacturer, their work slipped through the cracks. If the government wants to contract work to a private company, there must be some method of control and evaluation in place so that these mistakes, which may cost lives, donât occur.
In light of the drug scare, the Canadian government appointed a pharmacy expert to evaluate howÂ Ontario manages cancer drugs and how the error occurred. They also created another working group to look at how this drug scare came about.
The Canadian public is demanding answersâespecially those affected by the drug scare.
âIf ever there was a time to point fingers, itâs when you have a cancer patient not getting the proper dose,â said Conservative Member of Parliament Lisa MacLeod in an interview.
Once the working group reviews their findings, hopefully, theyâll finally get answers.
Source(s) for Todayâs Article:
âOntario government to investigate how hundreds of cancer patients received too-low chemo doses,â The Globe and Mail web site, April 3, 2013; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/ontario-government-to-investigate-how-hundreds-of-cancer-patients-received-too-low-chemo-doses/article10728307/, last accessed April 15, 2013.
Morrow, A., âOntario to boost oversight to fight repeat of diluted chemo-drug delivery,â The Globe and Mail web site, April 11, 2013; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario-to-boost-oversight-to-fight-repeat-of-diluted-chemo-drug-delivery/article11055765/, last accessed April 15, 2013.