Tell Dr. Dexter James There Is A Cancer Drug Shortage

The latest controversy in Barbados is about the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) running low on cancer treatment drugs and local drug suppliers inability to respond in a timely manner to purchase orders. The CEO of the Queen Elizabeth Dexter James was interviewed in the media on Wednesday about the matter and he was very terse in his condemnation of the Barbados Drug Service as the agency responsible for supplying drugs to the QEH in a timely manner. To be expected they are those who have taken the opportunity to make political mileage out of the issue.

It seems the only hospital in the world that did not know of a cancer drug shortage was the QEH given Dr. James publicly stated position. The 12 cancer suffering patients who need the drugs in question should not have to listen to James pointing fingers at the Barbados Drug Service. Dr. Dexter James should have been aware there is a cancer drug shortage on the world market. Here is an extract from CBC Canada website:

“Cancer drug shortages are forcing Canadian hospitals to scrounge for medication to avoid delaying treatment, CBC News has learned. For weeks, hospitals and pharmacists across Canada and in the U.S. have struggled to cope with spot shortages for about five chemotherapy drugs. Many of the medications are decades-old, highly toxic cancer drugs that kill dividing cancer cells and are mainstays of cancer treatment.

What has been interesting to observe has been the reporting by local media about the cancer drug shortage which has had the affect of stoking an existing debate about changes to the drug service.”

Senator Francis Chandler was quoted in the media recently that Barbadians seem to seek comfort in being controversial nowadays. Here is another example of it.

40 thoughts on “Tell Dr. Dexter James There Is A Cancer Drug Shortage

  1. Minister Donville Inniss should not underestimate Sandra Husbands who won the nomination to run in St. James South. She has already started to use the callin shows to send her message. She is no fool and her training means she will have a plan. This is a constituency battle which BU will enjoy watching as it unfolds. She is a stronger candidate than Liz. The turbulence in the health ministry of late provides good political fodder.


    Here is the conclusive findings on last year’s study by the University of Utah on the issue of DRUG SHORTAGES* and what the research showed…

    Other than China & India strangling raw materials to get better market prices as well as the ongoing dichotomy between BRAND* & generic manufacturers – the above research looks at the hurdles BIG PHARMA* is facing…

  3. Could this be a case of the decision makers in the ordering process not showing leadership? There is that word again. Could it be that against a background of a world shortage of key drugs it was business as usual for some people?

  4. Carson go and pay attention to your job, do not mind Sandra Husbands. She is an articulate and polished person and you know what I like and respect her. She would get my vote any day.

  5. @David
    Sanda Husbands cant touch Liz when it comes to political wisdom and brains. I will predict that Inniss will beat her hands down. WE in his constituency know that he is doing an excellent job and see her as an upstart.

    Dont you see how ell he interacts with us?

  6. @David

    What turbulence in the Health Ministry are uou talking about? Facts are real, so what is fiction?

  7. @Observer

    The language used is that Inniss should not underestimate Husbands. The BU household has been around long enough to know that to predict an election result based on current conditions is a nonsense position. Look for to when Peter Wickham publishes his analysis which list the swing % it will take to topple the incumbents.

    • @anthony

      Thanks did not read barbadostoday.

      The question is whether the QEH dispensed all the stock and how.

      Maybe it sold stock to the Drug Service who has publicly stated it has sold scare drugs to other distributors.

      Whatever the reason the taxpayers deserves an explanation.

  8. Interesting drug:


    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Sutent (sunitinib) to treat patients with progressive neuroendocrine cancerous tumors located in the pancreas that cannot be removed by surgery or that have spread to other parts of the body (metastatic).

    This is the second new approval by the FDA to treat patients with this disease; on May 5, the agency approved Afinitor (everolimus).

    The safety and effectiveness of Sutent was established in a single study of 171 patients with metastatic (late-stage) or locally advanced (disease that could not be removed with surgery) disease who received Sutent or a placebo. The study was designed to measure the length of time a patient lived before their disease spread or worsened (progression-free survival).

    Results from the study demonstrate that Sutent provided benefit to patients by prolonging the median length of time they lived without the cancer spreading or worsening to 10.2 months compared to 5.4 months for patients who received placebo.

    In patients treated with Sutent for neuroendocrine pancreatic tumors, the most commonly reported side effects included diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, anorexia, high blood pressure, energy loss (asthenia), abdominal pain, changes in hair color, inflammation of the mouth (stomatitis), and a decrease in infection-fighting white blood cells (neutropenia).

    Sutent is also FDA-approved to treat patients with late-stage kidney cancer (metastatic renal cell carcinoma) and to treat patients with GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumor), a rare cancer of the stomach, bowel, or esophagus.

    For more information, please visit: Sutent

  9. More interesting is the release by collins today.

    they state an eight month supply of the drug was bought early april of this year from them . where has all of that gone ??? Garner/Inniss have their work cut out for then to find out where that batch disappearing medicine has gone to.

  10. Actually I read the Collins ad and it was clear to me they were saying the supplied 8 months of stock based on their previous sales and not on hospital usage.

    If there are 4 suppliers and the hospital was previously buying from all, but three are now unable to supply, 8 months sales from the remaining one supplier could easily be 2 months or less in actual usage by the hospital.

  11. but why would they david. they stated they request more more in april. why would sell the stock they just got. doesn’t make any sense that way. and i don’t think there been a massive increase in patients. the only options left is either they where stolen or sold to other people either option leaves many question that they need to find answer for. as the same thing could happen to other health supplies/drugs

  12. john

    that could be true. it could also be true that collins got the majority of the sales last year, or collins could have recieved the least of the sales. If i remember right one article quoted QEH had bought 500 doses of the drug.

  13. This stupid policy of the DLP on drugs is causing great concerns in this country and to soften things for the Dems, they have VOB to help them.

    This new moderator Maureen Holder is a DLP plant. How comes when someone with knowledge of the drug situation called to discuss the issue, she could put suddenly decide that she has to take a commercial break but then was overheard on the phone telling someone to tell her to call. Next thing Natasha King called in with no facts and made herself look foolish on Brasstacks. Too bad the king died before she got the job she was promised.

    The Senator and Dexter James need to explain why would QEH purchased eight months’ supply from Collins five days after the beginning of the FY and all was gone in about 20-25 days as the whistle blower said last week she was told two weeks ago the were out of the drug.

    Where have the drugs gone? I note one person guaranteeing that Donville Innis will win back, not if he is kept as MOH. The Dems have touched a raw nerve with Bajans making them pay for drugs if they dont want what the government is dishing out and Bajans will remember them when the time comes.

    • @Prodigal Son

      Please explain how Natasha King made herself look foolish. Also isn’t it the producer of the talk show who decide how callers are presented on the show?

  14. @Prodical Son ” why would QEH purchased eight months’ supply from Collins five days after the beginning of the FY and all was gone in about 20-25″

    if this is the case some “rent-seeker” must be buying cheap from Collins, and hoping to sell dear to the government, ie’ PROFITEERING from people’s sickness.

  15. @random

    Then is must be internal affair @ the qeh and as such should be investigated since the sale was from collins to qeh directly.

  16. @ David the issue of Ms. King’s responnse was tha tit was simplistic and out of step with reality. The Minister has gone on reocrd as having cut the budget of the QEH by 15m and the Drug Service budget by 12m. when confronted with the decision to purchase the more expensive drug given there is a shortage, they opted not to purchase but wait for generics that are in short supply and will take 3 weeks. MOH is now run by price not health considerations and the DON stated he don’t care.

    • Still trying to understand the exchange with Natasha King, give us a blow by blow.

      Anyway the DON (you got to love it) is scheduled to speak on CBC TV at 8.30 PM come Monday.

  17. Maybe the same people who tried to shift fee paying patients to the Sparman clinic are the same people who are profiteering from prescription medicine, and thay don’t give a fcuk if poor people who are cancer pateints are suffering or not.

    They know that when the get sick that can go to the Sparman Clinic or North Shore Hospital.

    But North Shore could not save David’s sorry ass (literally).

    May not be able to save theirs either.

    We have a saying in Barbados, wuh ga roun’ does come roun’

    Some people say every dog day does come.

  18. Can someone help us understand how likely it is that the supply bought from collins could be legitimately used up in the time span.

  19. One has to assume given Dr Dexter’s public chiding of the Barbados Drug Service the procurement from Collins was legitimate dispensed.

  20. Sandra Husbands is using her facebook pulpit to get after minister Donville. This may prove to be an interesting tussle yet. Obama used the Internet successfully perhaps Sandra can do a thing given the demographic online.

  21. David,
    I was not on the blog for a few days. Re Natasha King, she called in and did not have any facts when trying to debunk the facts that David Gill laid out. When questioned by the same Maureen Holder, she said she did not know and to another question she did not have the facts, so why call?

    The conclusion I drew from the Colin’s ad is that the QEH has a lot of explaining to do. We need to know if Collins’ eight months supply to the hospital equals eight months of what the QEH actually uses. If not where are the drugs? I would like to know if there are so many cancer patients in Barbados that all these doses could be gone in 20-25 days.

    Dexter James and Irene Sandiford need now to explain that. If the QEH took all eight months supply, why would they not at least agree to purchase three months at the higher price bearing in mind the importance of the drug. Boggles the mind!

    But remember, during the last week of the GE campaign, the DLP had an elderly lady in one ad, exploiting the poor old lady saying that the BLP dont care about poor people. If she is alive today, she must be seeing who cares about poor people.

    These cheap drugs that the government is insisting on buying are making many sick and one wonders what economic sense it makes if people are getting the drugs and not using them more so now.

  22. Cancer drug shortages are forcing Canadian hospitals to scrounge for medication to avoid delaying treatment, CBC News has learned.

    For weeks, hospitals and pharmacists across Canada and in the U.S. have struggled to cope with spot shortages for about five chemotherapy drugs. Many of the medications are decades-old, highly toxic cancer drugs that kill dividing cancer cells and are mainstays of cancer treatment.

    Now what makes Barbados so special that you expect that you will have priority over 1st world countries !

  23. Well GP would be the best person to answer these. gives dosages but even then could be overridden depending on doctors opinion. The main question is is that QEH states they had over 100 doses still at being of april and requested more. collins states they sold qeh 8 months supply based on their previous order. could the 100 doses + “8 months ” supply have been used before the end of may so that cancer patients couldn’t get their medication ? this confusing would also be help if collin actually states the amount sold and dosage for each i remember seeing it being 500 of the same dosages of at qeh but can’t find the article.

  24. Non communicable diseases on the rise.

    Amputation capital of the world.

    To manage a ‘free drug’ service in this scenario seems unsustainable.

    The truth, this matter has gone political like everything in Barbados.

  25. This is nothing less than poor planning and poor policy. You mean they could not put a better system in place given that there is a shortage of the drug. I went and checked on line about the shortage, apparently it is nothing new. So why did they not factor that fact in the plan, ensuring their supply. Bare excuses they bringing, and on the call in programme trying to make it sound like teething problems. Long waits, no drugs, side effects, strange pricing levels for the userfees are not teething problems, it is poor thinking. I want to hear what Don’t Care Don has to say tonight. I read this online that this is what they are calling him now. It surely fits.

  26. @Bajan Truth

    I went and checked on line about the shortage, apparently it is nothing new. So why did they not factor that fact in the plan, ensuring their supply
    Spoken like a true politician….. open mouth insert foot…. How can one factor in a consistent supply of a commodity in the face of a world wide shortage of same?

  27. Did we hear Mohamed Nassar criticising the government on the talk show yesterday? He was emphatic too many people are sufferance as a result.

    Did we hear him also criticise the social partnership as well? His position is that if you have a partnership capital can’t be surviving and labour making the sacrifice. The old argument surfaces, which is more important, capital or labour. We never learn it seems.

  28. @David

    That is why the MOH has extablsihed the Non-Communicable Disease Commission(that was estbalished under Jerome Walcott). There is a task force on physical actiivity to motivate people to become active. The MOH has embarked on an educational programme to encourage Barbadians to eat healthy and reduce their connsmption of salt a big contributor to high blood pressure. These are initiatives that will go along way in stemming this problem. in addition to the ban on smoking in public places.

    Chronic non-communicable diseases are taken a toll on the resources of this country and every one must play a part instead of polarising healt issues.


    I realize that Bajan Truth dont know how to decipher facts from fiction, so from hencefore I will leave him to his own downfall. Responding to someone who has not got the abililty to see pass his forward is a waste of time.

    Little Barbados ordering a little quantity of cancer drugs will be given preference over the big players in the market? LOL

  29. Renal cell cancer is one of the few tumors in which well-documented cases of spontaneous tumor regression in the absence of therapy exist, but this occurs very rarely and may not lead to long-term survival. The incidence of Renal cell cancer seems to be increasing, though it isn’t clear why. The exact cause of renal cell cancer has not been determined but Smoking and misuse of certain pain medicines probably can affect the risk of developing renal cell cancer.

    Renal Cell Carcinoma Metastais

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