QUEEN’S PARK – Committee hearings probing watered down chemotherapy drugs distributed to four hospitals in Ontario began today. Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP and registered pharmacist Jeff Yurek has substituted into the committee for the duration of the investigation.
The news of watered-down chemotherapy drugs broke a few weeks ago. Nearly 1,200 cancer patients received the watered down drugs. People have demanded answers to how such an oversight could occur in Ontario.
“People are rightfully upset,” said Yurek. “When you’re dealing with a chemotherapy drug that people rely on to fight cancer, there’s a duty to ensure the quality and consistency of that drug.”
Health care professionals have noted a gap in regulatory oversight regarding these types of diluted drugs. While the company implicated is not considered a pharmacy and is therefore not subject to regulatory oversight by the College of Pharmacists, they are also not considered a drug manufacturer and are therefore exempt from Health Canada regulations.
Gaps have also been noted in the procurement process for such drugs with hospitals not being required to verify the accreditation of their suppliers. The Standing Committee on Social Policy will conduct a study relating to the oversight, monitoring and regulation of non-accredited pharmaceutical companies.
“Through this committee we’ll be interviewing numerous experts and stakeholders to try to get to the bottom of this and provide recommendations on how we can avoid oversights like this from happening in the future.”
“Patient safety is the primary concern here and we will work hard to ensure patients are protected in Ontario.”
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