QEH short on major meds says Opposition MP

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

According to Opposition MP, Dr. Maria Agard, the lone state-run hospital in Barbados is low on drugs and she sounded an alarm in the House of Assembly. According to her there is an out-of-stock drug list circulating within the state-run Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) that could impact treatment of some of the most serious diseases in the country.

”Why is it today that we don’t have Micardis at the hospital? Out of stock . . . withheld for money.  Nasonex, Cataflam, withheld for money; important drugs; drugs that service people with heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy, cancer . . . . These drugs today are being withheld for money,” the opposition member informed Parliament.

“I don’t want to be nit-picking about a million here or a million dollars there, but I certainly want to know, that when we apply our cuts, that we ensure that the vital operations are not in any way compromised; and today we cannot say for certain that that has been the case,” Agard stated.

According to Agard, pharmaceuticals will be cut by $3 million yet former Minister of Health, the Hon. Donville Inniss has said that health care in Barbados will not be compromised. All this, while the Minister of Health, John Boyce has said that  a 75% hike will be imposed on paid fees in the hospital and home-care dialysis will no longer be a free service from the QEH.

“I am not going to be unreasonable, because I am part of the health industry and I know that some things arise. However, when you choose to cut the vote to pharmaceuticals by $3 million, you have to ensure that people who need critical drugs, are not disadvantaged,” Agard suggested.

Agard asked for an assurance from the Government adopt international rules for its application of services including improved sanitation and sterilization.

She agreed with Minister Boyce that attention must be given to management of the health services.

In defense of the drug situation at the QEH of which Agard spoke earlier, Minister of Health John Boyce  said that there will be shortages from time to time “of one drug or another” and that there was a  careful selection of the regime of available drugs to ensure that patients had a choice.


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