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‘Unacceptable’—MP Chides Minister Over Red Tape For Life-Saving Drug

‘Unacceptable’—MP chides Minister over red tape for life-saving drug

Caroni East MP Dr Rishad Seecheran is calling on the Ministry of Health to immediately approve the importation of a life-saving drug for cancer patient Aneesa Doon.

“Further delay in giving permission could cost the precious life of a young citizen. It is unacceptable that red tape by the authorities has denied the family of Ms Doon the right to bring in the medication from India,” said Seecharan in the press statement.

He made the call after CNC3 News highlighted the heartbreaking story of the Mayaro mother-of-one who is awaiting approval to bring in the medication from India.

Two years ago, Doon, 22, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and since then her condition has deteriorated. In its response on Wednesday, the Ministry of Health stated that the correspondence was dated February 13, but was only received on Tuesday.

The ministry added that routine checks by the principal pharmacist and the Chemistry Food and Drugs Division revealed that the drug in question is not registered for sale in the country.

The ministry further stated that Doon would be advised of the necessary processes to follow to access this drug or an alternative treatment.

Seecheran, however, was critical of the Health Ministry’s position.

“It is intolerable that internal issues at the Ministry of Health are denying approval that could give Ms Doon the chance to be restored to good health. Ms Doon is now bedridden, her health is continuing to decline, and she must rely on her family for everyday support,” he said.

He explained that Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s germ-fighting immune system. He further explained that in Hodgkin’s lymphoma, white blood cells called lymphocytes grow out of control, causing swollen lymph nodes and lumps throughout the body.

“Hodgkin lymphoma is one of the most curable cancers when diagnosed and treated early,” Seecharan said.

The MP urged the ministry to cut out, what he called, the senseless bureaucracy and promptly permit the importation of the essential medication.

“With an annual fiscal allocation of over $6 Billion dollars, it is unacceptable that citizens must be subject to such inefficiencies. Minister (Terrence) Deyalsingh must tell the nation of how he intends to alleviate the suffering of this citizen in accessing medication to treat her cancer,” he said.

Doon’s mother, Shellyann Mohammed, told Guardian Media yesterday that no health official or anyone from the ministry contacted them.

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