No cancer deaths due to drug shortage: Minister | Daily News


No cancer deaths due to drug shortage: Minister

No cancer patient dies due to a shortage of anti-cancer drugs, Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said.

He was speaking at the anniversary celebrations of Galle District Drug Entrepreneurs’ Association held at the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel in Galle, yesterday.

“I arranged the import of state-of-the-art anti-cancer drugs and all such drugs have already been brought to Sri Lanka.

“Ninety-five percent of cancer patients take treatment at government hospitals; only five percent of such patients are being treated at private hospitals as the majority of people cannot afford the drugs prescribed at these hospitals. We have also controlled anti-cancer drug prices,” he said.

“Previously, doctors advised against having bone marrow transplants in Sri Lanka because of the unhygienic conditions in our hospitals. On the recommendations of doctors, I initiated measures to establish two virus-control sites at the Maharagama Apeksha Hospital to solve the problem and subsequently, we started bone marrow transplant surgeries,” the minister said.

“When consultants were queried about the progress of the bone marrow surgeries, they said they have already completed 52 such operations with no deaths linked to the operations. The consultants asked for three more such infection-control units and I immediately allocated Rs.300 million for the new virus-control units. Today, thousands of children are being treated there free-of-charge,” the minister said.

Sometime back, organs were transplanted at a very low rate in the country. At that time, only 40 such operations were performed in a year. In the previous year alone, 400 organ transplant surgeries were performed. Now, it has become a general operation in the country, he said.

“Statistics showed that about 100,000 Sri Lankans are blind as they couldn’t afford eye lenses needed for cataract surgery. Therefore, I initiated a programme to provide free eye lenses. At present, 120,000 eye lenses are being provided to patients every year. The same number in previous years was 8,000 per annum,” the minister said.

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