Lack of cancer drugs in Turkey leads to black market boom

Beijing, May 28 (Xinhua-ANI): Shortages of cancer medicine in Turkey has led to a booming black market, as Turkish health ministry and drug companies are at odds over pricing policies, Turkish media reported on Tuesday.

Cancer drugs are not available on the market, mainly because of the wrong price policies imposed by the Health Ministry, according to the Turkish Pharmacologists Association (TEB), Turkey's daily Radikal reported.

TEB Secretary-General Harun Kizilay was quoted as saying that the health ministry must immediately revise its price policies on drugs.

"We are importing the drugs prescribed to those appealing to us. However, a black market has been created due to the shortages of drugs and the ignorance of the patients," said Kizilay.

Kizilay added that the health ministry should re-regulate its pricing system.

The ministry determines a European country which sells the drugs at cheapest price, and then set a price lower than that value in a discount for domestic market. Because the health ministry provides with a cheaper price, many drug firms do not sell them to avoid making a loss, Kizilay said.

Those cancer drugs could be easily produced in Turkey under the guidance of TEB, Kizilay noted, calling patients to obtain drugs through TEB. He recalled that some 30,000 cancer patients appeal on a monthly basis to them to import the drugs.

Cancer drugs that normally cost over 28 U.S. dollars can increase to about 490 U.S. dollars in the oncology units of hospitals, the newspaper said, adding that black marketers attempt to illegally sell cancer drugs at the hospitals.(Xinhua-ANI)


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