MP Quizzes Minister on Drugs Shortages

Filiz Besim - CTP
[Former Health Minister – Dr Filiz Besim – CTP]
Since the pandemic there has been a shortage of drugs and raw materials for pharmaceuticals, Filiz Besim CTP said, Yeniduzen reports.

Speaking in parliament, Besim asked “Does the government have any drug policy?

She said that the government appeared to have no strategy to acquire medicines and like Kib-Tek was bypassing the tender system and buying direct.

A specific budget has been allocated for this purpose, but this was not an economical way of buying pharmaceuticals, Besim said.

She also pointed out that there is a shortage of management personnel in the Department of Medicine and Pharmacy and that non-qualified staff from the ministry were acting as a stopgap.  Besim said that the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Health should work in cooperation with the department to provide citizens with easy access to medicine and doctors.

Besim also said that the whole system should be automated.

Additionally, she stated that ways to obtain medicines from the European Union through the Bi-Communal Health Committee should be pursued.

Hakan Dincyurek
[Minister of Health – Hakan Dinçyürek UBP]
Minister of Health Dr. Hakan Dinçyürek, who refuted Besim’s arguments, responded by saying that he could not agree with the comment that the 2023 additional budget was not used correctly, and noted that two large tenders were held and medicines were procured in this way.

Dinçyürek said that another tender for 750 million Turkish Lira is currently being held and stated that as much medicine as possible through the tender had been purchased. Explaining that a pharmaceutical tender was launched at the beginning of February and that this was the fastest tender ever, Dinçyürek said that firstly, the existing stocks were taken into account when going to these tenders. The tender was based on data and statistics which took into account the rate of depletion of stocks.

Dinçyürek said that money was being held in reserve in the budget for a new tender if necessary.

Noting that work is in progress to improve  the structure of universal health insurance, Dinçyürek also agreed with the view that the physical structure of the Medicine and Pharmacy Department is problematic.

The problems in the Department of Medicine and Pharmacy have accumulated over the years, Dinçyürek said. He pointed out that a budget of 20 million Turkish Lira had been allocated for air conditioning and shelf layout in the drug storage facility.

Dinçyürek said that an automated system has been established to control the receipt and dispatch of medicines, in order to prevent the loss of medicines and to avoid waste.

The global pharmaceutical crisis is obvious and access to medicines in Turkey is problematic, he said. Despite the fact that some of the medicines are in short supply in Turkey, they still have stock in the TRNC warehouses, so no problems have occurred yet, Dinçyürek said.

Taking the floor again, Filiz Besim CTP said, “Please tell me, if you have done the tenders correctly, why are you going for monthly direct purchases right now?” she asked.

Minister Dinçyürek replied that he had given the answer to this question many times in parliament, and stated that although tenders had been made and 36 pharmaceutical warehouses had responded, no warehouse could bid for some items. They tried to supply them from Turkey, but some were not available from the mainland.

Dinçyürek noted that, for this reason, they are trying to purchase items that are not offered individually in the tender, where they can find them in the market, and that these purchases will not exceed 10 million Turkish Lira for 2024.

Besim replied that she will follow up on this issue and expressed her opinion that the department will not be able to conduct a proper tender process with its current personnel structure.


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