Red Alert. Red Alert.
We are all terrified of cancer, and patients who have existing conditions are undeniably even more afraid.
So when the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) released news that three high blood pressure medicines can increase the risk of cancer, patients will unquestionably be shocked.
What exactly is going on?
Is everyone affected by this?
Well, HSA is not slacking off their duties in ensuring quality medicine, as many Singaporeans may want to believe at the get-go.
As of June 2018, these medicines were still acceptable after undergoing tests. However, tests completed on 21 March for new impurities determined them unacceptable.
New year, new impurities found; right?
Under the new guidelines, the three brands that officially can no longer be used are: 50mg and 100mg tablets of Losartas, Losagen and Hyperten.
Now, go and check your cabinet of medicines, or your parents’!
I assume that we’re all back after checking our messily filled cabinet of medicines, and have come back either relieved or prepared to fight cancer if we have to.
No Immediate Effect
If you are one of the 137,000 victims among our population of 5 million, take deep breaths — and I sincerely hope that you have not dumped your medication into the bin.
The impurity in these tablets will not increase your risk of cancer immediately; in fact, you can take it for six more months and the increased risk will be about 0.0002%.
So you won’t die just yet, whether you want it or not. Just don’t throw the medicine out the window, or you will end up dying of stroke rather than cancer.
Patients To Continue Using Medication
It is a no-brainer, but the Ministry of Health has requested patients to continue their medication to keep their blood pressure low (especially needed after the news).
And I know that Singaporeans absolutely loathe waiting, but wait you must.
Wait for your hospitals or clinics to contact you — if they don’t, maybe it is time to panic and call because they should. But this only applies to people whose appointments are scheduled after July 1 and need to reschedule.
Of course, money will be on all of Singaporeans’ minds. I mean, medicines are costly, and let’s not even get started on the consultations.
Consultation And Service Fees Waived
This time, we won’t need to cry helplessly as our money regrettably leaves our hands. Any consultation or service fees will be waived, and replacements cost the same or even lower (score!).
But don’t even try to covet even more medications that will last you a few more lengthy months; since replacements are coming in slowly, doctors are encouraged to give only one month worth of medicine. Let’s all try to be nice to other patients!
With all the coverage that the 137,000 patients will receive, maybe it’s not red alert after all.
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So remember: don’t throw away your medication. Seek advice and please, if you know of anyone who likes to read just headlines, tell them to start writing articles instead of headlines!
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