Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (950)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

950. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Health the reason the HSE is not facilitating the availability and treatment of vitamin C intravenous treatment for recovering cancer patients in the north-west (details supplied); the reason the treatment is not available through general practitioners in the north-west region; the reason it is not licensed or available to pharmacies in the region in view of the success of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19650/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The most appropriate treatment for a patient is a decision to be made by the treating clinician together with his or her patient. However, any treatment, medication or therapy prescribed for a patient must be safe, evidence-based and in the patient’s best interests.

Some limited studies have been conducted on the potential use of vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid or ascorbate) in oncology but there is currently insufficient evidence to support the safe and effective use of high dose vitamin C to either help alleviate some of the side effects of cancer treatment or improve overall cancer survival.

High-quality placebo-controlled trials are needed to strengthen the present evidence base to support intravenous vitamin C/ascorbate being offered as a treatment by practitioners. There are currently no ongoing clinical trials listed on the EU clinical trials register investigating the use of vitamin C, ascorbic acid or ascorbate in oncology.

No intravenous vitamin C medicinal product has been granted a marketing authorisation in Ireland by Health Products Regulatory Authority, or the European Medicines Agency, other than general multi-vitamin products used in parenteral vitamin supplements.

It is open to a pharmaceutical company to submit an application for a marketing authorisation, for a medicinal product containing vitamin C, to place that product on the Irish market. However, such an application must be accompanied by a comprehensive dossier supporting the safety, quality and efficacy of that medicinal product for the indications sought.