Jun 10, 2013

By AM740 Staff

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Health Canada is being accused of shortening some patients’ lives by denying them access to an inexpensive, relatively harmless drug not sold in Canada.

Lung disease specialist Dr. David Forrest, of Nanaimo, B.C. and Dr. Stephen Field, from Calgary are making the allegations.

In previous years, Health Canada granted several people special access to the drug, called clofazimine.

The doctors say that approach has suddenly changed, for no good reason.

57-year old Dean Robertson says the drug is his last option because no other medication has worked for him.

Dr. Forrest says he will blame Health Canada for his patient’s death if the agency continues to block access to the drug.

Clofazimine is widely available in developing countries but is not approved for sale in the U.S. or Canada because the drug company Novartis hasn’t applied for approval.

Dr. Forrest says he suspects Novartis is not interested in studying or marketing Clofazimine in Canada because there are few people who need it  and many of them are elderly.

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