Monday, 10 April 2023
The ongoing shortage of drugs is creating problems for the medical profession and patients, Kibris Postasi reports.
President of the Cyprus Turkish Physicians Union (Tıp-İş) Şükrü Onbaşı, also pointed to staffing shortages and said that there were no gastroenterology and endocrinology specialists in public hospitals.
He said that the shortage of drugs was not a new issue and was getting worse. The demand for medicines increased during the pandemic and the economic downturn after the pandemic meant that the cost of raw materials had increased.
Turkey, who supplies the TRNC with medicines, has now issued an export ban which includes North Cyprus.
The cost of production of pharmaceuticals has been impacted because the Turkish government has fixed exchange rates, therefore producers are stalling production because they have to sell at a loss.
In addition to this, the Russia-Ukraine war, has increased the demand for drugs, and large exports were made from Turkey to the war zones.
“The drugs were sold at substantial profit; but this time, an export ban was imposed by Türkiye”, which was also applied to North Cyprus, Onbaşı said.
The head of the doctors union emphasised that antibiotics, painkillers and drugs used to treat chronic diseases are not available.
He noted that the Pharmacists Union, Ministry of Health officials and the Turkish Ambassador to Nicosia Metin Feyzioğlu held a series of meetings to try and solve the drug shortage problem. Following which, some drugs became available in time.
Onbaşı also said that south Cyprus could provide the TRNC with drugs. They are not permitted to sell drugs imported into the south, but drugs manufactured in the south could be purchased. He noted that the south has a flourishing pharmaceutical industry.
The TRNC Pharmaceuticals and Pharmacy Department puts out a tender for the purchase of drugs annually, meanwhile there are plans to purchase drugs from Israel in order to overcome the shortages.
Onbaşı stated that the main purpose of the strike was to warn the government. “The public should know that the shortcomings and capacity problems are not caused by us. All governments are responsible for what happened. As doctors, we are not happy that people are without medication and have capacity problems”, he said.