BEIRUT: Lebanese hospitals and most cancers sufferers are working out of morphine and its derivatives.
An attraction made by Elsy Aoun via the Al-Nahar newspaper went viral on Friday. The younger girl mentioned that her brother, a most cancers affected person who can’t discover the remedy he wants anyplace, is working out of the one drug that may relieve a few of his ache. “We solely have morphine left for 10 days. What are we alleged to do after that?”
In line with a March 2021 report by the World Well being Group, Lebanon recorded 28,764 instances of most cancers over the past 5 years, together with 11,600 instances in 2020 alone.
Though medicines for incurable and cancerous ailments are nonetheless backed by the state, most medicine are working out amid the financial collapse that the nation has been experiencing over the previous couple of years.
The Ministry of Well being mentioned on Friday that it had given its approval to subsidize morphine earlier than importing it two months in the past, however the subsequent approval to be issued by the central financial institution was delayed.
“We have now contacted the importing firm and agreed to start out the method with out ready for the central financial institution’s approval,” the ministry mentioned, including that morphine needs to be obtainable out there inside every week.
There are 445 registered most cancers medicine in Lebanon. The price of treating most cancers sufferers “is about $200 million yearly, and it might attain $400 million,” in keeping with former Well being Minister Jamil Jabak.
Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim, president of the Lebanese Society of Hematology and Blood Transfusion, mentioned: “Yearly, between 2,500 and three,000 new instances of blood cancers are registered, along with 1000’s of sufferers below therapy and periodic monitoring.
“The assorted remedies are costly, however they result in a treatment charge starting from 60 to 80 %, which has similarities to international outcomes. With the shortage of crucial remedies, we discover ourselves going through the potential for not having the ability to deal with sufferers, which can, sadly, result in the demise of many.”
A pharmacist in a Beirut hospital, who most popular anonymity, informed Arab Information: “Not all medicines can be found within the hospital pharmacy, and morphine is a day by day want within the hospital to alleviate the ache of sufferers with stage 4 most cancers. We want round 150 to 200 needles of morphine per thirty days, and the demand might improve or lower in keeping with the sufferers’ situations. Not all options to this drug are as efficient.”
She added: “Sufferers and their households are having a tough time looking for drugs. Some might be discovered on the black market, however solely the rich few can afford them. The sufferers who’re handled on the expense of the Ministry of Well being face an actual tragedy, particularly since you possibly can solely get entry to remedy if you realize somebody inside these days.
“Morphine is assessed as a high-risk drug, and each needle given to the affected person have to be signed by the physician and two nurses, specifying the amount of the substance that was given and every drop wasted.
“Just one firm imports morphine, in contrast to different medicine. Having one importing firm makes it simpler to barter securing this drug.”
The ministry mentioned it’s making all efforts to expedite the method of importing morphine and has requested these involved to make this difficulty a prime precedence.
Physician and former MP Ismail Sukkarieh, who has been preventing corruption within the well being sector via the Nationwide Well being Authority, which he chairs, mentioned chaos has prevailed within the sector.
“It’s true that most cancers medicines are nonetheless backed, however that is reasonably theoretical now. Medicines should not obtainable, and the important thing to the answer is with the central financial institution. It’s ridiculous that the financial institution nonetheless subsidizes a sort of espresso however can’t present sufficient cash to subsidize the medicines that folks have to recuperate. Is espresso extra vital than human life?” Sukkarieh mentioned.
He added: “Along with the central financial institution, grasping drugs suppliers are the issue, as these folks conceal medicines of their warehouses to make unlawful earnings. Nobody is confronting them — neither the ministry nor parliament’s well being committee.”
Sukkarieh mentioned that medical doctors see tragic conditions each day. “As quickly as I enter the hospital, sufferers or their households cease me to ask for drugs. Even my fellow medical doctors who deal with most cancers sufferers have turn into helpless within the face of individuals’s tragedies. What is definitely taking place is accelerating the demise of sufferers as a consequence of irregular therapy. Who has the correct to shorten folks’s lives like this?”