Parents of children with cancer protested in Xalapa, Veracruz, on Tuesday to denounce a longstanding shortage of cancer medications in the state’s hospitals.
Gathering from all over the state, the parents demanded life-saving medications such as vincristine, folinic acid, cytarabine and even catheters to combat what they say is an ongoing shortage.
Said one of the protesters’s signs: “Our children run the risk of dying without their chemotherapy.”
Protester Maricarmen Mendoza said that over 100 children have not received their medication since October, along with some adult patients.
“The [children’s condition] needs to be controlled with chemotherapy . . . if they don’t receive it their illness keeps advancing and becomes more dangerous,” she said.
She called out the administration of Veracruz Governor Cuitláhuac García Jiménez for the lack of medications.
“We’re going to [protest] until the [health] secretary gives us an answer as to why there has always been a shortage . . .” she said.
A mother of a young girl with leukemia, Karla Arias, said that she has to spend as much as 10,000 pesos (US $532) a month on outpatient chemotherapy, since the shortage has raised the prices of medicines that normally cost 100 pesos to as high as 850.
“I have to pay for the medicine, the shipping . . . so that my daughter can have her complete therapy,” she said.
She wanted to know what state Health Secretary Robert Ramos Alor has done with the half a million pesos allocated for each juvenile cancer patient by law via the Catastrophic Expenses Insurance, since it hasn’t gone to buying medicine for the children.
She and other parents have had problems with medications for their children in the past.
Former governor Miguel Ángel Yunes accused the administration of ex-governor Javier Duarte of administering watered-down medicine to children with cancer.
“The chemotherapy administered to children wasn’t really medicine, but an inert compound, it was practically distilled water. This seems to me to be an incredible sin, an attack on the lives of the children,” he told a press conference in 2017.
The Mexican Association to Help Children with Cancer called the deception a serious act that threatened the lives, health and recovery of the children and said it should be treated as a crime against humanity.
Source: El Universal (sp)