Cabinet has approved a supplementary budget of €1.8 million to be spent on drugs for Thalassaemia and multiple sclerosis patients whose lives were put at risk because they had not received medication in due time.
The issue was discussed at the House Health Committee following recent media reports of patients’ dying or getting worse due to lack of medication.
MPs heard that ten deaths were recorded between 2007 and 2012 and one in 2013 and that an investigation will be carried out into their exact causes.
The committee discussed the need to create a unified blood centre and the fact that the advisory committee on blood has not convened in the last nine years.
The Health Ministry will submit a proposal for solving problems and filling gaps to parliament in 30 days.
President of the Cyprus Anti-Anaemic Association Natalia Michaelidou said Thalassaemia patients cannot survive without access to blood because their life depends on it.
Commenting on the shortages of Exjade used for iron chelation therapy and the deaths of Thalassaemia patients, Michaelidou said four of them were not undergoing full treatment.
At the same time, there are currently 12 patients waiting for an increase of their dose and another 38 will be screened by the Pharmaceuticals’ committee in order to get the drug.
The President of the Multiple Sclerosis Patients’ Association Lenia Ttakoushi Christoforou expressed disappointment arguing that the state is depriving patients of their right to treatment on the pretext of financial cost.
Health Committee chairman Costas Constantinou said MPs have requested information on these deaths and their causes.
He argued that reports of Thalassaemia patients’ dying because of a drug shortage do not correspond to reality since the deaths were recorded between 2007 and 2012 and the causes have not been clarified.