Pharmacy rules tough for some patients

Injectable cancer drugs should be sent to doctors' offices.

I am an 86-year-old who has been taking drugs for prostate cancer for many years. The present prescription is for a drug named Lupron Depo.

A few years ago, I was forced to pick up this drug and others then prescribed, personally, at the pharmacy at the cancer centre in Surrey. This is a time- and gasoline-consuming procedure which entails approximately 20 miles of travel plus finding adequate parking space and often making long walks necessary. This was probably applicable everywhere in British Columbia.

All of we patients dependent upon injectable cancer medications were delighted upon being informed that in future, these drugs would be delivered to our physician’s offices, therefore negating our long trips. This policy has been in force for about five years, but has now been stopped.

The reason, I’m told, is because this practice contravenes the bylaw of the College of Pharmacists that claims it is due to the physicians’ misuse of the drugs provided (i.e. giving it to somebody other than the patient to which it was prescribed) if the need arose.

This, in my opinion, should be between the physician and the college and should not therefore be the responsibility of the patient.

The new rules state that the patient must pick up his/her medication in person or have a friend or family member do so. This rule is utterly unfair and places the responsibility of obtaining the drugs prescribed upon the patient.

Many of these patients are extremely fragile, old and infirm. Many do not drive any longer. Nor do some have the family or friend to run their errand to pick up necessary cancer-fighting pharmaceutical prescriptions. Nor do many have the money for taxis or drivers to perform this function.

I appreciate the work the B.C. Cancer Society and the College of Pharmacists do in the pursuit of our health. But I believe that in this case there has been a most injurious miscarriage of justice that will result in great hardship or, perhaps, death itself.

 

Mike Harvey, Langley

Surrey North Delta Leader

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