Thu | Dec 3, 2020

Gov’t should choose coronavirus drugs wisely

Published:Saturday | October 24, 2020 | 12:07 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

In April 2020, Dr Christopher Tufton said that the ministry had completed its assessment of the Cuban antiviral drug, Interferon Alpha, and “given that it had not been approved globally”, the decision was made not to use it in Jamaica at this time (Jamaica Observer April 24, 2020).

Seven months later, Dr Tufton, in response to the experimental drug Remdesivir, revealed that the Ministry of Health and Wellness, through the National Health Fund, “will be spending $13 million to secure 800 dosages of the experimental Remdesivir drug used in the management of COVID-19” ( The Gleaner, October 14, 2020). Like Interferon Alpha, the drug Remdesivir “had not been approved globally”.

Given the Government’s perceived haste to purchase Remdesivir, one is led to believe if the piper is calling the tune, in that, the United States government in August had given an additional “US $1 million in assistance to Jamaica to respond to COVID-19 Kingston – through the US Agency for International Development (USAID)” ( The Gleaner, August 26, 2020).

We do hope that Dr Tufton will think about the legacy he hopes to leave, and not become a victim by the singing of a new foreign Sankey; thus making Jamaica an alleged dumping ground for unproven American experiments.

DUDLEY C. MCLEAN II

Mandeville, Manchester