Cancer Treatment to Be Taken More Seriously

by chelsea-martin on May 4, 2013 - 7:35pm

According to an article posted on CTV News by the Canadian Press on April 30th2013, a pharmacy assistant at hospital in Peterborough Ontario found out that the cancer treatment directed to 1,200 patients were watered down by accident.

The assistant checked the labels on the bags that were provided by Marchese Hospital Solutions, and realized that the label was different compared to those they used to receive from Baxter, their previous supplier. The concentration of the drug gemcitabine was not included on the Marchese label like they were on the Baxter ones. It has been discovered that there was too much saline in the bags which caused a chance of 20% diluted drug. Some patients located in five hospitals in Ontario and New Brunswick had received these diluted drugs, some for up to a year. The company defended itself saying the drugs were prepared the way it was asked and while under extreme supervision by a pharmacist. However, the drug mixture thought to be bought was not what was received.

People could have gotten seriously hurt by this mistake. Many people rely on these drug mixtures to survive and the fact that they have been receiving a lower dose due to the dilution could have caused serious problems. What if someone would have died because of this? Because they had been receiving the wrong medication; that would have been dreadful. In a situation where people’s lives are at stake, one would assume that preparing drugs would be taken more seriously and done more carefully. However, I feel the hospital should be checking the concentration levels before giving it to the patients to make sure, at least some of the time. People’s lives aren’t something to be messed around with. I’m just glad that the assistant did notice, because otherwise the consequences could have been much worse than what they were.