Dionisio Palacios, a retired medical technologist of the IESS, since 1985 lives with the Sjögren’s syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease that causes dry eyes and mouth, joint pain and skin affectation. That disorder has deformed his hands.
The treatment with an expensive biological drug called adalimumab, that every month the Teodoro Maldonado Carbo Hospital (HTMC) must provide him, allows this patient aged 64 to control the progression of his disease.
According to him, the IESS Hospital did not provide him this medication in September, October and November, by an apparent shortage, “but it already arrived this month and I have to go for it.”
In contrast, the situation has not been favorable for Miriam Choez, a patient at the hospital that for 19 years suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. She complains about the lack of Rituximab, a biologic drug she must take every six months.
“I had to pick it up in October, but so far they haven´t called me to apply the medicine,” says Choez, who chairs in Guayaquil the Aid Association for Patients with Rheumatic Diseases (Apare).
Therapeutic care for terrible diseases motivates an uneasiness among groups of patients with such ailments, who warn Daily Expreso on an irregular provision of some drugs in the HTMC.
“There is a shortage and they not assume their responsibility,” says Isabel Franco, president of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Ecuador, who says they have turned to other ways to get drugs for their routine treatment.
“To help those who are IESS affiliates, we make them to open a file in the Pneumological Hospital Alfredo J. Valenzuela, so doctors can provide them medicine, which is the same the Social Security should provide them,” he says.
Cancer patients also express concern. According to Francisca Reinoso, president of the Hope and Life Association, the supply of drugs in the HTMC is irregular. “If they provide a certain amount of drugs, 15 days after, there are no longer medicines. They do not provide medicines for the full treatment.”
Translated into English by Pierina Abad