Friday 24 January, 2020

Minister: No shortage of tuberculosis drugs

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said there’s no shortage of tuberculosis drugs.

Deyalsingh was speaking in Parliament on Tuesday in response to an urgent question put forward by Opposition Senator Wade Mark asking whether there was a shortage of four critical drugs used for the treatment of tuberculosis.

Deyalsingh said however that this was not true.

“There is no shortage of four critical drugs,” he said.

Deyalsingh said as of November 12, 2019, there were 114,200 doses of Isoniazid, a drug used in the treatment of tuberculosis. He said there were 3,000 doses of Ethambutol and 3,300 doses of Pyrazinamide.

Deyalsingh said however there is a global shortage of a tuberculosis drug called Rifampin due to an issue in production by Canadian company Sanofi, which would mean delays in re-stocking the drug until April 2020.

“There’s a global shortage of Rifampin…what did we do as a responsible government? We sourced the clinical alternative called Rifabutin, it’s available, however my understanding is not all patients are candidates for Rifabutin.”

“However, even in light of a global shortage…Rifampin is in the country and will be delivered to the Caura Hospital today. So there’s no shortage of tuberculosis drugs.”

“There’s a global issue with Sanofi of Canada in manufacturing the drugs which they said would not resolve itself until April 2020 but we have circumvented that,” he said. 

Earlier this week the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) assured that there were sufficient drugs to treat tuberculosis. 

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