Saskatchewan

Some cancer drugs still in short supply, officials say

Hospitals and cancer clinics in Saskatchewan are still coping with a drug shortage, according to some officials.

Hospitals and cancer clinics in Saskatchewan are still coping with a drug shortage, according to some officials.

The shortage relates primarily to some pain medications that are injected and certain drugs used in cancer treatments.

Also in short supply are some drugs used in the treatment of nausea, a common side-effect of many medical treatments.

"Sometimes we use an alternative drug," Kelly Babcock, the pharmacy director for the Regina-Qu'Appelle Health Region, told CBC News. "Sometimes we actually have to repackage something to make it better to suit that particular patient. Sometimes we have to not give it and just use non-drug measures."

Babcock said coping with drug shortages have become a part of the regular routine for hospitals.

Health Canada lists almost 300 drugs that are in short supply.

In some cases, the drug shortage has been dragging on for over a year, although Babcock noted things were improving.

"This is probably the biggest impact we've had in the past few years. It is getting better," Babcock said. "We expect it to keep getting better. But there will always be shortages. I think that's a reality of the new world."

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