Condemn Dems on health
Minister of Health Donville Inniss has a lot to answer for.
Barbados Labour Party candidate for St. Michael South Central, David Gill, who once held that seat, said that Inniss and Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler should be held liable for the state of affairs related to the drug formulary, the Barbados Drug Service and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Speaking at a meeting in support of candidate for St. Michael South East, Santia Bradshaw in Factory Avenue, Wildey, he said that while consumers could readjust to the VAT they could not do so with health care and the first time he heard that medication would have to be paid for, he knew that it would pose problems.
“The pharmacy owners who use it as a source of income would realise a fall in profits and they will either begin to close down or send home staff and that came to pass and I say ‘You know what? They cannot contain that cost by simply asking the patient to pay the cost’. I said there gine by more in the mortar than in the pestle.
“And then the next week the minister of health came and removed some 100 preparations that were in that formulary and I sent up another cry. I said but how could he do that when they were people stabilised, in other words being kept healthy, and were able to work, and we have seen that they took another step and most of you out there might have heard the word generic drugs. Generic doesn’t only apply to drugs, medicinal drugs,” he said.
Gill said he had no quarrel with generic medicine, which was also used in Canada, but he had a problem with importing syringes, medication for swallowing and internal use, when “you are not sure of the calibre of the manufacturer”.
“The other step they went on to make which was heart wrenching is limiting an individual to certain number of medications,” he added.
As an example, he used someone who was diagnosed as hypertensive and being treated by a doctor with a number of medications to slow the heart, opening the arteries, remove water from the body and cholesterol.
“A man or woman that has spent 30 years studying the human anatomy and physiology and prescribed five medications for you so that you can go about your daily life without stroke, without heart attack, without poor circulation and amputation, and you can go about your life so you can look after your children and your well being, you might have just entered into a mortgage in your early 40s.
“Who is Sinckler and who is Inniss, whom I have dubbed Inniss the insulin snatcher, … because tonight there are many people in this area who go over to Edgar Cochrane and who go down to fast track at the Winston Scott polyclinic and cannot access their medication. If they do access it in some instances, where they were prescribed four vials of insulin they may now be getting three,” Gill said.
He said he assisted an 80-something year old woman with getting medication but the challenge was its availability.
“I went to Belleville … but she can’t get it in Oistins polyclinic, she can’t get it at the QEH, she can’t get it at Randall Phillips, she can’t get it at Edgar Cochrane, she can’t get it at Winston Scott so what must she do, must she die? And having cut back from the Drug Service and the hospital, there are many very basic requirements that they do not carry tonight and it is unfair that people have to stretch their medication like how you have to stretch the money in your pocket or how you may have to stretch a little toothpaste when it’s coming to an end.
“And I say to you tonight that there are two people who should be held jointly liable for that Chris Sinckler and Donville Inniss because Inniss is the Minister of Health and it is by his deeds that the people of Barbados, and particularly the working class people are suffering tonight,” Gill said.
The candidate condemned the steps taken by the DLP administration saying that it should do better.
“You cannot be namby-pamby and play along with people’s health Inniss. You cannot do that. You came and you found a system working, I’m not saying that all was well but you should have put in place a committee and you should have canvassed people to know exactly and to speak with the doctors appropriately,” Gill asserted.
He said that Barbados was some 30 years ahead of the US President Obama’s health care programme and although he almost lost his bid for a second term he knew that a healthy country was economically viable. (DS)