I’ve become drawn to reading stories about people and their parasites ever since Carin and I started watching Monsters Inside Me on Sunday nights while we eat supper. Yeah, we’re a little different, what’s your point? But it wasn’t these people’s hookworms that stood out to me as I read, it was the slimy behaviour of our government that most caught my eye.
Even after diagnosis, more frustration awaited them. Zytner said the medications that are used to treat hookworms are not licensed for sale in this country: Health Canada has put ivermectin and albendazole on its Special Access Programme, meaning that they can only be obtained by federal approval on a case-by-case basis.
Zytner said his request for the drugs was denied. “They said our case wasn’t severe enough to get the medication.”
“I don’t know how much worse it has to be for them to approve it. People have passed away from (parasitic infections).”
Fortunately, a connection with a doctor possessing a dual-nation license allowed Zytner and Stephens to quickly get the medications they needed in the U.S.
And if anyone presumes this to be an isolated case: Zytner said he and Stephens have been in touch with a couple from the Niagara region who they met at the resort.
The Niagara couple are also currently suffering cutaneous larva migrans.
“They have the exact same thing,” Zytner said. “And they were also denied by Health Canada for access to the drugs.”
This is Canada. We are a very fortunate nation. So why must there ever be cases where people are denied medications they need? If we’re talking about experimental treatments that run into the five or six figures and have a more than even chance of not working, by all means, review those all day long. But when it’s a simple matter of this is what you have and this is what fixes it, playing a game of we can’t stop your legs from falling off until your legs fall off should absolutely never be something that someone is paid to do. Nor, by the way, should a citizen of this country ever have to know a guy who knows a guy in order to get medicine. That’s just goddamned ridiculous and I should be able to expect much better from my country.