By Bejay Browne
PROSTATE patients in Paphos have been left without vital medicine for the past month.
Cancer sufferer, Peter Scarborough, 70, and wife Yvonne, 60, contacted the Cyprus Mail in desperation after being unable to get hold of medicine used as part of his treatment programme at Paphos General Hospital.
Scarborough said: “I undergo treatment at the general hospital to try and manage the spread of prostate cancer every month. On April 15 I was told that some of my tablets were unavailable; they are still not available now, one month on.”
The ‘Pamsvax’ capsules are used to treat patients with prostate problems and have been prescribed by Scarborough’s doctors as part of his ongoing treatment plan. This includes monthly IV injections into his stomach and arm.
A spokesman for the hospital’s pharmaceutical services said they were aware of the problems but stressed that their hands are tied due to the lack of sufficient supplies to the island.
“Hundreds of patients are regularly unable to get hold of necessary medication due to stocks on the island running out. These tablets, as well as some other medications, are out of stock and aren’t available anywhere here, this is a very big problem. I am constantly calling the central stores to try and secure medication for the hospital,” he said.
According to the hospital pharmacist, all of the medication is imported from abroad, mostly from Europe and America.
“I don’t know if representatives aren’t ordering enough. We also have an increasing number of new patients needing medication across the island every month. Its distressing for patients and something needs to be done to address the problem,” he said.
Scarborough was diagnosed with prostate cancer after a biopsy taken during the Christmas period of 2012.Oncologists discovered the cancer had spread to his bones. Doctors said neither chemotherapy nor radiotherapy treatments were suitable, instead deciding to offer him a way to try to manage the disease and prevent it from spreading.
Wife Yvonne said: “I think this situation is totally unacceptable. Peter and others like him have enough to cope with, without the added stress of worrying when the tablets will be available. Even the doctor is unable to tell him when it will be in stock.”
This isn’t the first time the couple have been told vital treatment wasn’t available. Previously the medication which is placed into Scarborough’s stomach was also out of stock at Paphos General Hospital. The situation arose just days before the couple was due to embark on a short recuperation trip, which had been planned for months.
“The pharmacy didn’t have Peter’s medicine, so we went back to the doctor who got them to ring around the island to try and track down any supplies. Luckily we got it the next day and were able to travel.”
Scarborough says she can’t fault the doctors and staff at the hospital who are excellent, but noted that the wider problems need to be urgently addressed.
“Something needs to be done to stop this from happening to Peter and other patients. Stress isn’t good for anyone, especially people who are coping with living with cancer and other disease.”
The hospital pharmacy says they hope to have the medication ready to dispense by Monday.