Hundreds of Ontario patients did not receive full doses of cancer drug, found agencies

TORONTO – The agency that oversees cancer care in Ontario, says a review that hundreds of patients did not receive full doses of cancer drugs because of problems with the way intravenous drugs were administered.

Cancer Care Ontario says that out of nearly 1,000 affected people, less than ten needed to receive an additional treatment as a result.

But the agency says the case is taken seriously and guidelines for hospitals on how to administer such drugs should be updated.

The dosing issue first arose in June when the Mississauga hospital west of Toronto informed the Cancer Care Ontario of medication that remained in intravenous tubes after patients received the treatment.

Cancer Care Ontario says it immediately asked all 74 Ontario hospitals that treatments for cancer medicines reviewed their procedures to ensure medication was properly managed.

The agency says 35 hospitals reported back saying that they foun d issues with how three drugs were given to cancer patients.

Cancer Care Ontario said that 28 of those hospitals found nearly 1,000 patient records where they believed that patients did not receive the correct dose of those three drugs.

Two of the drugs are for immunotherapy, stimulating the immune system of a patient to fight cancer, Dr. Robin McLeod, vice president of clinical program & # 39; s and qualities initiatives at Cancer Care Ontario. One is for targeted therapy that identifies a gene that is related to cancer, she said.

The drugs are not as diluted as chemotherapeutics when they are administered via an intravenous tube, she said. That means that if there is a little bit of medication left in IV tubes, not receiving that amount can affect patients, she said.

All hospitals in Ontario that identified problems have changed the way they administer the drugs in the light of the assessment, McLeod said.

Cancer Care Ontario said that it also notified cancer care offices in other provinces of the issue.

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