Home Psoriasis Letters to the editor – December 28, 2020

Letters to the editor – December 28, 2020

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Medicine procurement

I’m writing as a last resort in the hope that this letter will help move things. I have tried calling different departments, only to be bounced from one section to the other or told: “We don’t know. Keep calling.” My consultant, Lawrence Scerri, is the only one who has given me some concrete information.

I have severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and have been on the biological drug secukinumab for the past three years. It is the only treatment that keeps the condition controlled. For the past two months, this drug has been out of stock and, as a consequence, I am having a flare-up, which is quickly spiralling out of control. I’m at a point where my legs are constantly burning.

It is my understanding that a biosimilar drug is available. However, an agreement was reached with the consultants and CPSU that patients who are stable on secukinumab will remain on secukinumab and not switched to the biosimilar because of obvious risks and adverse effects.

As a patient, I have a right for this treatment and, yet, someone in the echelons of medicine procurement is dragging his feet to the detriment of patients like me, who really need this drug in order to enable us to live a good quality of life.

I’m at a loss as to what else to do.

Lucienne Tabone – Attard

Strategy on rainwater

The prime minister recently inaugurated St Anthony Street, in Għajnsielem. Photo: Clifton FenechThe prime minister recently inaugurated St Anthony Street, in Għajnsielem. Photo: Clifton Fenech

I was driving up St Anthony Street, Għajnsielem in the early morning on Sunday. The road was redone completely and opened with a lot of pomp only recently. However, the water coming down from Qala was like a river. I expected this new road to be water-free even in the worst of the rain. But it was not to be.

I am not blaming those who worked on it or who took the care to decide to rebuild it again.

The fault perhaps lies with the fact that we do not have a national strategy for collecting rainwater. We need one to be able to save the rainwater which comes in heavy downpours and not let it run to the sea. We need it to replenish our fastly vanishing sea level, freshwater aquifer. And, although this strategy needs a lot of thought, planning and infrastructure to be realised, it would be a step in the right direction in a sustainable development.

Joe Portelli – Nadur

Emergency contraception

I refer to the report ‘Equality means respecting conscientious objection’ (December 2).

There is no evidence that emergency contraception (morning-after-pill, MAP) causes abortion. It cannot because emergency contraception does not work once fertilisation has taken place.

It works by stopping or delaying ovulation, hence preventing fertilisation. The best available evidence is that emergency contraception does not prevent implantation and it’s no longer effective after ovulation has already occurred. In issuing marketing authorisation for the MAP, the Malta Medicines Authority drew upon the research data of thousands of experts throughout the EU. If there had been any evidence that emergency contraception did cause abortion, it would never have been legalised in Malta.

Those pharmacists who conscientiously object to dispensing the MAP also have a duty towards those in need of this medication. Indeed, many professionals refer such patients to nearby pharmacies that can dispense emergency contraception.

Here is my proposal: require that all pharmacies indicate outside their premises that they will not dispense emergency contraception and further require them to indicate the nearest pharmacies that will. This, however, will not help the woman who needs emergency contraception after 12pm on Sunday as pharmacies will not be open and neither will the Mater Dei Hospital pharmacy dispense it.

As Doctors for Choice, we believe there should be no barriers to accessing emergency contraception and we are sure pharmacists will rise to the occasion.

Natalie Psaila – obo Doctors for Choice, San Ġwann

Letters to the editor should be sent to [email protected]. Please include your full name, address and ID card number. The editor may disclose personal information to any person or entity seeking legal action on the basis of a published letter. 

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