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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Inquiry set into diluted chemotherapy drugs given to 1,100 cancer patients

   Canada column for Sunday, April 7/13


   (c) By Jim Fox

   The Ontario government is launching an independent inquiry into how diluted chemotherapy drugs were given to more than 1,100 patients for up to a year.
   The underdosing affected patients at London Health Sciences Center, Windsor Regional Hospital, Lakeridge Health in Oshawa, Peterborough Regional Health Center and Saint John Regional Hospital.
   “It’s unacceptable that this should have happened – that the doses would not have been accurate,” said Premier Kathleen Wynne.
   The review will consider if it was a systemic problem, an isolated incident and if the privatization of chemotherapy drug preparation was a factor, Health Minister Deb Matthews said.
   There was too much saline added to the bags of chemotherapy medications that watered down the prescribed drug concentrations by three percent to 20 percent, Cancer Care Ontario said.
   Most hospitals mix their own drugs but the four affected Ontario hospitals and one in New Brunswick had used the same supplier, Marchese Hospital Solutions of Hamilton, Ontario.
   The supplier said the problem wasn’t the result of how the drugs were prepared but the way they were administered at the hospitals.


   It’s being called the “Justin Trudeau effect” – the sudden increase in popularity for the federal Liberals.
   Trudeau, son of the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau, is expected to be named on April 14 leader of the party that slipped to third place in the last election.
   Time will tell if the “fresh face” and famous name will have a lasting effect, said pollster David Coletto of Abacus Data.
   Abacus polls show the Liberals have “positive momentum,” while the ruling Conservatives and Opposition New Democrats are declining.
   A Forum Research poll found 48 percent of Canadians believe Trudeau, 41, is qualified to be prime minister should the Liberals win the next election. Thirty-seven percent said he wasn't and 16 percent said they didn’t know.


   News in brief:
   - Robbery is considered the motive in the slayings of a “snowbird” couple from Toronto in their condo in Hallandale Beach, Florida. Police said Rochelle Wise’s wedding band with five half-carat white diamonds in a half-moon shape valued at $16,000 is missing. The bodies of Wise, 66, and David Pichosky, 71, were found in their winter home on Jan. 10. A reward of $51,000 is offered for tips that lead to an arrest.
   - Controversial former Ontario New Democrat politician Peter Kormos has died at his home in Welland. Kormos, who was single, was 60 and died of “natural causes.” After retiring from provincial politics in 2011 after 23 years, he was elected to Niagara Regional Council.
   - About 250,000 Canadians have cut the cord and quit their costly cable and satellite TV services in the past year. Convergence Consulting Group said another 130,000 subscribers are expected to join the movement to stream TV online from services such as Netflix this year.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s jobless rate rose to 7.2 percent from 7.0 percent last month with an unexpected loss of 54,500 jobs from the economy, Statistics Canada said.
   The Canadian dollar is higher at 98.29 cents U.S. while the U.S. greenback is valued at $1.0173 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.
   Stock markets are lower with the Toronto exchange index at 12,319 points and the TSX Venture index 1,033 points.
   Lotto 6-49: (April 3) 20, 26, 27, 32, 36 and 46; bonus 49. (March 30) 26, 30, 34, 35, 38 and 41; bonus 48. Lotto Max: (March 29) 8, 11, 12, 13, 22, 33 and 47; bonus 7.


   Regional briefs:
   - Workers are cleaning up 16,600 gallons of crude oil that spilled when a Canadian Pacific Railway freight train derailed near White River, Ontario. There were no injuries. A week earlier, 14 cars of a CP train derailed in Minnesota, spilling about 15,000 gallons of Canadian oil headed to U.S. refineries.
   - The New Democrats kicked off their election campaign in British Columbia by accusing the Liberal government of hiding an $800-million budget deficit this year. Finance critic Bruce Ralston said the provincial budget numbers were an attempt to mislead voters ahead of the May 14 election.
   - Nova Scotia’s New Democratic government predicts a slim surplus of $16.4 million in its fiscal plan for the next year. Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald expects higher revenues along with $86 million in departmental spending cuts. Balancing a few tax breaks is an immediate tax increase for smokers of two cents a cigarette.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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