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Monday , September 26 2022

Lack of medicines in Kuwait sends 5 cancer patients to ICU

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‘Need to support, strengthen strategic drug stock in country’

KUWAIT CITY, July 6: Citizens and expatriates alike continue to react because of the inability to get health services at government health centers and public hospitals due to lack of medicines and this has confused the cancer patients more than anybody else, reports Al-Qabas daily. A number of patients confirmed that they had not received chemical medicines for two months, which exposes them to health risks due to immunodeficiency and the disease spreading in their bodies. While the patients and their families expressed dissatisfaction with the failure of officials in the Ministry of Health to respond to their inquiries, they stated that 5 patients were admitted to intensive care within a week due to their interruption from taking medication, pointing out that some had to travel for treatment at their own expense to neighboring countries.

They pointed out that they visited private hospitals, and it was also found that they had no cancer drugs, wondering who is responsible for the worsening of our health condition, and when our medicines will be available. From cancer to other incurable diseases, the drug shortage crisis has spread, without any radical solutions commensurate with the suffering of patients whose original medicines are difficult to replace with others, according to specialist doctors. On social media, some patients talked about the lack of specific medicines for cancer for a period of up to weeks, with the limited quantities of insulin needles designated for diabetic patients, according to citizens, as well as the disappearance of nose drops and Panadrex from some public pharmacies, and ointments, creams and water for lotion in Dental departments, sometimes anesthetic needles, and other supplies for blood tests.

A citizen recounted his suffering when he went to the Qortuba Health Center for a diabetes analysis, and he was told the needles used for blood tests were not available, and he had to visit the center after a week. Another person indicated that his mother has been visiting Al-Razi Hospital for two years because she is suffering due to fragility, arthritis, roughness and pain, and her treatment was interrupted two months ago. Another citizen stated that her son suffers from asthma and its complications, and every time she visits the hospital, she finds that his medicine is not available, so she is forced to buy it from pharmacies in the private sector.

Another citizen referred to the lack of important medicines for the treatment of heart diseases, and the interruption of clot spraying since December, while Umm Abdul Rahman pointed out that she had been receiving cancer treatment for 3 years, but specialists at Badriya Ahmed Center told her that treatment was not available for a while, and this aggravated her condition. In a related context, health sources confirmed to Al-Qabas that the problem requires granting greater independence to the heads of the boards of medical departments, hospitals and specialized centers, indicating that the continuous change in the departments concerned with the pharmaceutical sector, with the noticeable shortage in the budget allocated to medicines and medical equipment, is one of the reasons for the shortage of medicines during the recent period.

Reasons
The sources pointed out that one of the reasons for the shortage is also the change in the procurement mechanisms used in the supply of medicines and medical supplies since approximately December 2021, as well as the failure of local companies to collect their dues quickly, similar to what happened with companies such as Pfizer and Moderna specialized in supplying vaccines against the Corona virus to Kuwait. The sources pointed out the importance of granting a broader role and powers to specialized committees and council chairpersons in requests to purchase medicines and supplies, with the aim of accelerating the pace of supply and eliminating the documentary cycle that impedes the arrival of more than one important drug class, including cancer, blood pressure, diabetes, digestive system and incurable and rare diseases, adding that the replacement of treatment protocols it is very difficult because original medicines cannot be dispensed with. The sources indicated the need to address the decisions issued since mid-2021 regarding supply operations, including not receiving medicines from companies until after the completion of the contracting procedures, which hinders their regular access to health facilities.

Budge
Sources added, facilitating the smooth delivery and supply from the suppliers directly to the warehouses, ensures the smooth flow of medicines and medical supplies to the centers and hospitals but requests sometimes exceed the budget allocated for spending on medicines and supplies, which indicates a defect in this area. The sources stressed the need to support and strengthen the strategic drug stock in the country, especially with the continuing repercussions of the Russian- Ukrainian war regionally, and the Corona pandemic, which casts a shadow over more than one sector, especially with regard to the conditions of shipping, transportation and export from international companies and factories to Kuwait, similar to health regulations in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. The four demands put forward include urgent provision of cancer drugs, develop an emergency and crisis strategy, adoption of a new mechanism for importing medicines and reducing the documentary cycle in importing medicines.

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