The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has resumed all surgical procedures and there is no need for undue concern, Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George today assured.
Last week, the surgical department had to resort to performing only emergency surgeries as a result of a shortage of critical drugs needed for patients before and after surgery.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 26th Annual Caribbean Association of Otolaryngology at Radisson Aquatica Resort, Bay Street, St Michael this morning, George told reporters the problems have been rectified and operations were back on track from yesterday.
“There were two problems, there was an issue with morphine and you know that morphine is used for pain and the anticoagulants which are used [in surgeries]. The issues to the best of my knowledge have been sorted and we have been able to source [the medication].”
Dr George insisted that there was no deliberate attempt not to have critical drugs in stock.
“Let me make it clear though in respect to drugs not coming [into the island]. Barbados is a small island and I am not using that as an excuse. However, we are influenced by supply and demand issues on the international market. Our quantity of drug is very, very small and that is some of the problem and from time to time there is usually a shortage of drugs in the market for different drugs, ” he explained.
Concern about medication has been mounting in recent weeks following announced changes to the Barbados National Drug Formulary that would result in the removal of some brand name drugs for less costly generic drugs. In addition, hypertensive drugs have been struck from the formulary.
Dr George today reiterated that this was nothing new and urged Barbadians to work with their doctors and pharmacists until the new formulary takes effect from June 30.
“Every two years there are changes to the drug formulary, it is a good science. It makes sense.
“On the 1st July, we will roll over to the new formulary which will be the 38th edition. So, this is the 38th edition of the Barbados National Drug Formulary and we are making every effort to make sure that the best generic drugs replace some of the branded drugs that are on the formulary,” he said, while stressing that the Ministry of Health was not seeking to band all branded drugs.
“That was never the idea. The idea is where we can source quality generic drugs and where we can guarantee that the quality of those drugs are good for the population we will use those drugs and that has always been our position.
“In moving forward, we are asking Barbadians to work with the Pharmacist, work with their doctors.. to see how we can reach the point of the 30th June when the transition will be made,” George said.
The Barbados Drug Service provides free medication to children under the age of 16, senior citizens over 65, and anyone, irrespective of age, who received prescribed formulary drugs for the treatment of diabetes, hypertension, asthma, cancer, glaucoma and epilepsy.