TTCS Chair apologises for statements on cancer drugs

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TTCS Chair apologises for statements on cancer drugs

The Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society chairman has apologised to the Ministry of Health.

The apology came hours after the ministry and the NWRHA hit back at comments made by Dr Asante Le Blanc before a Joint Select Committee (JSC) of the Parliament on Social Services and Public Administration on Wednesday.

Le Blanc told the JSC there was always a shortage of breast and prostate cancer drugs in the public healthcare system. She also claimed while the newer drugs have been approved, they are not available in the public health system and antiquated versions were given to patients.

She said this meant patients could only access the newest versions privately.

In a statement to the media, however, the ministry said it wished, “to place on record that oncology drugs are available in Trinidad and Tobago and further advises that there is no shortage of chemotherapy infusion pharmaceuticals, inclusive of those used for breast and prostate cancer, as alleged”.

It added, “While the ministry takes notes of shortages of chemotherapy drugs in other countries, Trinidad and Tobago is not experiencing any shortages at this time.”

In a statement yesterday, Le Blanc apologised, saying, “Regrettably, certain aspects of my remarks may have been misconstrued as an attack.

Le Blanc pointed out, “Upon further reflection and subsequent consultations with oncology professionals, I realised that some of the information I referenced may have been incomplete. I acknowledge this oversight and express my genuine remorse for any unintended consequences that may have arisen as a result.”

The doctor added, “I extend my heartfelt apologies to the minister and the entire team leading the fight against cancer in Trinidad and Tobago. It was never my intention to cause harm or discord, and I sincerely regret any distress or inconvenience that my statements may have caused.”