Challenges of access to medicine raise concern for cancer patients

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Yangon, September (18)

After more than a year and a half since the military coup in Myanmar, cancer patients are facing a life-threatening situation due to high drug prices and barriers to accessing medicine, the pharmacists told Than Lwin Times.

Cancer patients used to be able to register for chemotherapy at the relevant hospitals for a low cost and alternate receiving the treatment, but now it is difficult to obtain treatment at public hospitals, so they must purchase medicine at outside clinics to receive medications on time.

However, after the military takeover, the cost of cancer drugs has nearly tripled, and cancer patients are in a desperate situation.

“The main problem is that the medicine are expensive. But there is absolutely no shortage of medicines. The main problem is that cancer patients can no longer afford to buy drugs, Dr. Tin Tun Naing told Than Lwin Times.

After surgery to remove the tumor, cancer patients receive at least 10 rounds of chemotherapy or HERS2 treatments to prevent the growth of cancer cells in the body.

“Chemotherapy now costs about 500,000 kyats, compared to the previous price of only 300,000 kyats. I also suffer from diabetes, heart attack, and cancer. It is not convenient if I choose to save money by taking just one dose rather than two a cancer patient said

Foreign medicine importers are having trouble, and the cost of medicine is soaring, as a result of the military council’s restrictions on the import of medicine, the inability to purchase as many dollars as necessary to import medicine, and issues with import permits.

Importers of drugs and medical equipment from other countries must make their own arrangements for finding and purchasing dollars, and the Military Council declared in July that import permits would only be issued to those who could afford to pay.

Currently, the prices of various foreign medicines have doubled to triple what they were before, and retailers are finding it difficult to resell them, so some pharmacies are temporarily closed.

News – Than Lwin Times

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