It looked for a while that Marchese Hospital Solutions’ explanation for the diluted chemotherapy drug bags may have had legs, suggesting there was miscommunication between hospital purchasing agent Medbuy and Marchese over the use of the product.
Marchese claimed it was their understanding that the bags of chemotherapy drugs they were preparing were to be administered as a single dose entirely to one patient, when in fact the contents of the bags were being used for multiple doses.
Appearing before a Ontario legislature committee probing how 1200 cancer patients received diluted doses of chemotherapy, Anne Miao, director of pharmacy for rival corporation Baxter, told the committee that Marchese’s explanation was far-fetched.
According to today’s Toronto Star, Miao told the committee that dosage is based on the patient’s surface area, and “a four gram dose to be used as a single-patient dose, using a standard five foot 10 inch tall patient, you’re looking at a patient of over 900 pounds.”
Craig Woudsma is the reluctant hero of the so-called “chemo drug scandal.” He is the OPSEU pharmacy assistant at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre who stopped to question the differences between oncology medication prepared by the hospital’s old contract supplier and the new – Marchese Hospital Solutions.
He was the first to do so. 1200 cancer patients received less than their prescribed dose due to an error that has four Ontario hospitals, their purchasing agent, and Marchese all pointing fingers at each other.
Yesterday Woudsma may have not felt the hero, appearing before the Ontario’s legislature’s social policy committee heavily coached by senior hospital officials and their contract lawyer, who sat directly behind him and his senior colleague Judy Turner.
As it turns out, maybe it was the hospital officials themselves who should have been back on the hot seat.
Why would Peterborough Regional Health Centre want to contract out the preparation of oncology drugs 200 kilometers away in Hamilton when it had the resources to do so on site?