Cancer Hospital Receives Much Needed Drug After ‘Sunday Leader’ Exposé
By Maryam Azwer
The recent shortage of Neupogen, a vital drug for cancer patients, has now been resolved.
Director, Medical Services Division (MSD) of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Kamal Jayasinghe says stocks of Neupogen were delivered to the National Cancer Institute, Maharagama, on Thursday. The stocks are expected to be sufficient for about a month.
The Neupogen shortage at the country’s only specialised cancer hospital was a major concern as the drug was essential to boost a patient’s blood count, and was vital in order to administer chemotherapy.
Neupogen is a drug that needs to be imported, and Dr. Jayasinghe said that orders for Neupogen had been placed but there had been a delay in supplying the drug.The MSD had therefore had to purchase Neupogen from local suppliers in order to tackle the shortage
“We usually get them through worldwide tenders through SPC but when there is a supply gap, we bridge them with local purchases,” he said.
The Sunday Leader exposed the shortage of the drug last week and the contradictory statements made on its availability by the Director of the Cancer Hospital and the Director of the Medical Services Division. The Heath Minister should be investigating why the Director of the MSD did not purchase the drug from local suppliers until The Sunday Leader exposed the shortage.