National Drug Authority impounds fake cancer drugs on Ugandan market

National Drug Authority (NDA) has impounded packages of unregistered and counterfeit cancer medicines that are being sold on the Ugandan Market.

The drugs include Avastin (bevacizumab), a first line drug in the treatment of ovarian cancer and Sutent (sunitinib malate), a medicine often used to treat progressive tumors of the digestive system, the pancreas, and the kidneys. The drug interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Although the genuine Sutent drug is supplied only as hard gelatin capsules, the fake product is presented as bluish – grey tablets, according to the NDA warning. The genuine Sutent drug is manufactured by Pfizer, a U.S based Drugs Company. However, the counterfeit is labeled as made in Sweden.

Similarly, the Avastin drug which is supplied as an injection for intravenous,  has been counterfeited and presented as bluish-grey tablets.  The genuine drug is manufactured by Roche, a pharmaceutical firm based in Germany and Switzerland while the counterfeit Avastin, is labeled as made in Sweden.

“The containers for both drugs claimed to be “Made in Sweden AstraZeneca 2014,” The statement by NDA  shows.  AstraZeneca is a UK based firm which recently sold its antibiotics business to Pfizer.

However, containers of the counterfeit products have wrong spellings of the name AstraZeneca in some places spelt as “AstraZenaca” and group as “grroup”. Astrazeneca and Turbuhaler are trademarks of Astrazeneca group of companies.

 

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DP starts 120 million campaign to support Agnes.

By Robert Ssegawa

Opposition Democratic Party has started a campaign to raise 120 million to enable Agnes Nayiga an ordinary Ugandan travel to India for cancer treatment.

The party president Nobert Mao told the media in Kampala that Nayiga has been battling breast cancer since 2013 and has already lost one of the breasts.

Mao says the party has printed T-shirts that will be sold at 30,000 to raise the money to save Nayiga’s life.

He has appealed to Ugandans of good heart to support this noble cause by contacting the number; 0772629121 or 0701629121.


Photo: www.theinsider.ug

Construction of Bankers at the Mulago cancer institute to last twelve months

By Moses Kindandi

The Government has commenced the construction of six under ground bankers to house the Radiotherapy machines at Mulago cancer institute.

The construction of the bankers will cost government  25 billion Uganda shillings . Representing president Museveni at the ground breaking ceremony this afternoon at Mulago cancer institute the prime minister , Dr Ruhakana Rugunda told the gathering that the Government is doing all it takes to ensure that cancer patients get adequate medical treatment.  Construction to works will be done by Roko construction and will last a period of twelve month.

Minister mistaken, Aga Khan hospital only promised 400 dosages not treatment for 400 people

The free radiotherapy offer by Aga Khan Hospital to Ugandan cancer patients was misrepresented, URN has learnt. Dr. Jackson Orem, the Director Uganda Cancer Institute, explains that Aga Khan Hospital only offered 400 dosages to Uganda as opposed to 400 patients as presented by the health officials to parliament.

Last week, a team of health officials led by Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, the Health State Minister, informed the Health Committee of parliament that Aga Khan Hospital offered free radiotherapy treatment to 400 cancer patients.

The Minister explained that government would meet the transport, feeding and accommodation costs of those selected to benefit from the offer. However, Dr. Jackson Orem, the Director Uganda Cancer Institute, says the offer can at best cover not more than 20 cancer patients.

Orem explained that government has already constituted a team to vet the patients who will benefit from the program. He however, said government will give priority to patients whose cancers are in the early stages, since they have greater chances of healing completely to enable them come back and be productive.

Orem is however, non-committal on whether those selected will receive transport and accommodation support from government since board rules require patient to cater for themselves.

Aga Khan Hospital offered the free radiotherapy treatment for the cancer patients following the breakdown of the radiotherapy machine at the cancer institute broke a month ago living more than 33,000 patients in need of services stranded.

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Cancer patients to wait for radiotherapy machine for a year

Patients suffering from cancer may have to wait a little longer to get a new cobalt 60 radiation machine after officials revealed that government hopes to have a new one in a period of at least one year from now.

Cobalt therapy or cobalt-60 therapy is the medical use of gamma rays from cobalt-60 to treat conditions such as cancer. It offers radiation therapy, which kills or damages cancer cells. It is used in more than half of all cancers.

Uganda’s only radiotherapy machine purchased in 1995 broke down for the last one month and over 33,000 cancer patients have been left stranded with many lacking financial muscle to seek the services abroad.

The cancer unit gets an estimated 44,000 new referrals annually from Uganda and other neighboring countries including Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan and 75% of these need radiotherapy.

According to the executive director for Uganda Cancer Institute-UCI, Dr. Jackson Orem the process of constructing a bunker that is supposed to house the new radiotherapy machine has taken the institute more than two years.

He says that this is because of  the complexities involved in building a bunker and regulations set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also known as  Atoms For Peace an international agency that regulates the sell and purchase of all radiation or nuclear emitting equipment .

The new radiotherapy equipment  was bought by IAEA on behalf of the government in 2013 and Uganda contributed  325, 297 euros while IAEA will cater for shipment, maintenance and train technicians who will operate it.

However, three years down the road, the machine could not be brought into Uganda because there is no bunker constructed to house it.

Dr. Orem says that after IAEA approving the soils on which the bunker will be built-a process that took two years, the institute is now in the process of identifying a company the is qualified to actually construct it. Already according to Orem, three companies have been shortlisted to do the job that is likely to take a minimum of 6 months if all resources are available and one year in case of delays.

However, according to the minister of health Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye the delay is already evident. He says that government is looking for over 30 billion shillings and so far the ministry has received only nine billion in the running financial and the 2016/2017 to build the bunker that is expected to house at least seven radiotherapy machines.

On a daily basis, the department receives about 100 cancer patients who need external exposure to radioactive waves to receive relief against cervical cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and others organ cancers.

According to Orem, Ugandans should not be alarmed by the breakdown of the machine as there are other alternative ways of treatment.

He said that the institute has since acquired the Brachytherapy, or internal radiotherapy machine, that is commonly used to treat cervical, prostate, bladder, and breast and skin cancer through the temporary or permanent placement of a short range radiation source close to the tumor inside the body, positioning the radioactive pellet through a technique known as after loading.

However, according to one of the senior radiographers who spoke to URN off the record said that this machine only works on cancers that are at their first stages and yet many patients present themselves at Mulago when the cancers are at the last stages.

He adds that the two machines are supposed to be working together especially in cancers that presents late.

He said that in such circumstances, a patient has no option but to seek radiotherapy services from other countries.

Dr. Kavuma Ausi a senior Medical physician at Mulago says that it is very dangerous for a patient to miss radiotherapy because this leads to treatment failures if this process is missed which shortens their lifespan and the end result is death.

He says that people who are most affected are those who have cancers of the throat and pancreas.

 

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Court awards $72m to family cancer victim who died due to Johnson &Johnson powder

A Missouri jury has awarded $72m to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer, which she said was caused by using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and other products containing talcum.

The civil suit by Jackie Fox of Birmingham, Alabama, was part of a broader claim in the city of St. Louis circuit court involving nearly 60 people. Her son took over as plaintiff following his mother’s October 2015 death at 62, more than two years after her diagnosis.

Marvin Salter of Jacksonville, Florida, said his late mother, who was a foster parent, used the brand of talcum powder as a bathroom staple for decades. “It just became second nature, like brushing your teeth,” he said. “It’s a household name.”

An attorney for Fox said the jury verdict Monday night, which came after nearly five hours of deliberations at the conclusion of a three-week trial, was the first such case among more than 1,000 nationally to result in a jury’s monetary award.

The jury said that Fox was entitled to $10m in actual damages and $62m in punitive damages. Attorney James Onder said he “absolutely” expects Johnson & Johnson – the world’s biggest maker of healthcare products – to appeal the verdict.

The New Jersey-based company previously has been targeted by health and consumer groups over possibly harmful ingredients in items including in its Johnson’s No More Tears baby shampoo.

In May 2009, a coalition of groups called the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics began pushing Johnson & Johnson to eliminate questionable ingredients from its baby and adult personal care products. After three years of petitions, negative publicity and a boycott threat, the company agreed in 2012 to eliminate the ingredients 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, both considered probable human carcinogens, from all products by 2015.

Spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said that the company was considering its next legal move. In a written statement, she said the verdict “goes against decades of sound science proving the safety of talc as a cosmetic ingredient in multiple products,” citing supportive research by the US Food and Drug Administration and National Cancer Institute.

 

 

 

 

 

-The Guardian

Singer Celine Dion’s husband dead

René Angélil, the husband of singer Céline Dion, died Thursday.

“René Angélil, 73, passed away this morning at his home in Las Vegas after a long and courageous battle against cancer,” Dion’s publicist confirmed to CNN.

“The family requests that their privacy be respected at the moment; more details will be provided at a later time,” according to a post on Dion’s website.

 The Clark County Coroner’s Office said Angelil died from throat cancer.

“We have determined Mr. Angelil’s death was due to natural causes. No further investigation into his death is expected,” the coroner said in a statement.

Dion and Angélil met after the always-singing 12-year-old Dion recorded a demo and one of her brothers sent it to Angélil, who was a fledgling producer at the time. When Angélil didn’t reply, the Dions called him directly to listen to it.

That prompted Angélil to audition Dion in January 1981, and once he heard her, he mortgaged his house to pay for her debut album, “La Voix du Bon Dieu.”

In 1992, “Celine Dion” hit the stores and produced four chart toppers, including a duet with Peabo Bryson for the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast.”

“And that was our key to America, at that point, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was our first real hit in America,” Vito Luprano, then-senior vice president of artists and relations for Sony Music Canada, said at the time.

The duet won an Academy Award and a Grammy. At the time, Dion was 24.

A lavish wedding, children, more hit records and the top hit, “My Heart Will Go On” for the movie “Titanic,” followed. As did her current Las Vegas residency.

Angélil is survived by his wife and the couple’s three children, René-Charles, 14, and 5-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy — and his adult children from a previous relationship, Anne-Marie, Jean-Pierre and Patrick.

May Angélil’s soul rest in peace.