Adriamycin is part of intravenous chemotherapy supposedly aimed at hindering the growth and spread of cancer cells

The Dutch Health Council, an independent scientific body which advises the government and parliament of the country, has advised the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment a substance known as adriamycin, which is marketed as Doxorubicin or Rubex, is in the list of products considered carcinogenic.

According to experts, manufacturing, administration and subsequent cleaning of the remains of the substance and material used to administer it to patients by qualified personnel “increases the risk of developing cancer.”

Although members of the Board of Health do not talk about percentages because they “still lack enough data on animal experiments and human clinical trials,” they still recommend adding  adriamycin to the so-called Category 1B pharmaceuticals.

The classification that has been established by the Health Commission of the European Union include the use of the “substance capable of causing cancer.” In Category 1A the list includes other “known carcinogenic” compounds.

“While epidemiological studies to date are inconclusive, we do have sufficient evidence in animals about adriamycin being a carcinogen”, said experts from the Dutch entity.

Elsewhere in the report, which was referred to the Government, scientists explained that exposure of medical personnel may occur by contact with the skin, ingestion or inhalation. “The likely moments of contact are during handling in pharmacies and hospitals, or even in research laboratories.”

Adriamycin is part of intravenous chemotherapy supposedly aimed at hindering the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. It is classified as an antitumor antibiotic, and among others, it is used to treat cancer of the breast, ovary, uterus, bladder, thyroid, stomach, liver, lung, pancreas, prostate, Hodgkin’s disease and some leukemias.

It is known that the use of adriamycin can affect the heart, cause tissue damage if it escapes from the vein, and increase the possibility of developing various cancers treated at source. The latter sometimes happens with other treatments.

The analysis was carried out at the request of the Ministry of Social Affairs himself, who wanted to know the risk from occupational exposure, and concentrations of hazardous substances.

Given the lack of laboratory tests, the Health Council has been unable to estimate the annual number of cancers that could result from contact with adriamycin. Social Affairs will now report its findings to different Dutch medical authorities.

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