South Africa: National Cancer Drug Shortage May Last Until October

National Cancer Drug
National Cancer Drug

A deadly national cancer drug shortage is approaching its third month and patients may have to go without until October – if they can make it. In February, Nic Basson was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a fast-growing malignant brain tumour. The tumour is located in his brain’s language centre and affects his ability to communicate. He was prescribed the steroid betanoid to help control inflammation associated with the tumor. But in April, his local pharmacy told his wife, Debra, that it could no longer fill his prescription, sending Debra on a frantic country-wide search for the drug – to no avail. She explains: “Within 24 hours without betanoid my husband had lost his ability to speak.” She continues, softly: “He also has memory loss, so even when he can find words, he forgets what he was going to say. He is essentially trapped in his own mind.”


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