Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said yesterday that a file is being compiled and will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to the company involved in the drug which caused seven patients to go blind in either one eye or both eyes.
The story was first reported exclusively in the Sunday Guardian on October 6 when it was reported that seven people were injected with a tainted eye injection brought into the country by “illegitimate importation channels” and had to undergo surgery to have one or both infected eyes removed.
Back in July, the Ministry of Health recalled the imported injection which contained Triamcineclone Acetonide as its main ingredient.
In the past four months, the seven patients have undergone eye removal surgery and are currently being outfitted with prosthetic glass eyes.
Deyalsingh gave the assurance during the 2020 Budget debate.
“I don’t want to say any more due to the potential for litigation,” he added.
Deyalsingh told the Parliament that when news broke in July the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health instructed that a file be “constructed and that file will be going to the DPP in short order. Let the DPP take whatever action he has to take.”
The Health Minister said the other action taken by his ministry was to review the award of tenders to the company involved, “I have instructed that this entity will not be getting any awards under the renewal of awards being awarded.”
Deyalsingh told the Parliament that since the story broke his ministry had done two things, a file compiled to be sent to the DPP and “that particular company will not be getting any tenders.”
However, information obtained by the T&T Guardian based on documents from Nipdec showed that as of September 2019 the same company was paid $2.5milion to supply non-pharmaceutical items and another $12.8 million to supply pharmaceutical drugs to public hospitals.
On another news report—regarding last week’s discovery of 69 people at an Arouca religious ministry’s facility—Deyalsingh denied the facility was transferred under his Ministry. He said the UNC Cumuto Manzanilla MP’s recent claim on this was incorrect. Deyalsingh claimed the MP had said so in a bid to extricate her (former) administration from the Arouca issue since that facility had received $7 million from 2012 to 2015.
“I checked at the Social Development Ministry and that facility is nowhere under any control of Health. What happened is that a facility in San Fernando—New Horizons—was transferred from Social Development to Health,” he said.
Saying mental health was the next Non Communicable Disease (NCD) , he said plans to decentralis mental health facilities from the 117 year old St Ann’s hospital to satellite centres, he said facilities like New Horizons would be accessible to residents in the furthest reaches of T&T and allow reintegration with families and communities and carry “less stigma.” (See more in article below)
Deyalsingh said suicide figures dropped from 2013 to 201 but said there was a problem with adolescent suicides.
Deyalsingh complained that T&T’s “free” public health service was taken for granted and people were ungrateful.
“You can do 99 things right but you get no acclaim and there are no screaming headlines. But do one thing wrong and the media crucifies you for it! Healthcare is free, T&T—appreciate it!”