He said nearly one million people are treated at the country’s four major hospitals and taxpayers are being short-changed when it comes to drug shortages.
Noting that $760 million is allocated in the 2017 Budget for pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical items, Deyalsingh said health could be a “bottomless pit,” especially when it comes to drug procurement.
To this end, he said, “The solution is not more money but more management of the supply chain.” Deyalsingh said the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has been helping the ministry, regarding complaints that some CDAP drugs are ineffective.
“We will be culling and taking off those drugs that have proven to be ineffective,” he said.
Deyalsingh also said drugs will be, “put on to the formulary that have a real reason to be there” As he listed examples of drugs, the minister said some drugs have only been retained for economic purposes. Deyalsingh added that globally drug shortages have occurred because of a consolidation of pharmaceutical companies over the last 20 years from 60 to 20 and because some companies do not sell drugs to countries because of their size.
Barataria/San Juan MP Dr Fuad Khan expressed concern that the country’s five regional health authorities are not working and their number should be reduced.
Khan also told Deyalsingh that someone may be misleading him about the supply of cancer drugs to the San Fernando Oncology Centre, as he referred to a department he described as,” the black hole of Cabinet.” Later in the sitting, Deyalsingh confirmed that those drugs have sent from St James to San Fernando.