With the Turkish lira recording record low levels in its value against foreign currencies this week, the medical and pharmaceutical sectors in Turkey were greatly affected by the decline, which its currency recorded after its exchange rate exceeded more than 11 lira against the US dollar.
A source in both the Turkish Doctors and Pharmacists Syndicates announced to Al Arabiya.net the loss of hundreds of types of medicines that Turkey imports from abroad and those that it manufactures at home after importing its raw materials.
A deputy in the Turkish parliament and the former head of the Diyarbakir Medical Syndicate said, “The Turkish government, through the Ministry of Health, sets a specific price every year to exchange the Turkish lira against the US dollar and the euro when importing medicines.”
Necdet Ipek-Yuz explained to Al Arabiya.net this issue by saying that “the Ministry of Health sets the dollar exchange rate once a year in February, and for example, this year, the price of one dollar is about 9 liras for imported medicines, but the actual price of the dollar is exceeded 11 pounds.
He added, “This mechanism forced many pharmaceutical companies to stop importing, as they buy medicine according to the dollar exchange rate in global markets, meaning that they pay for each dollar more than 11 Turkish liras when they buy medicine from abroad, but when selling and distributing inside Turkey, the government forces them to.” to set prices according to the price set by the Ministry of Health for the dollar, which is about 9 liras, and therefore these companies lose instead of making profits.
Many doctors and I am one of them feel confused when writing a prescription, as we cannot prescribe medicines that we think are necessary for the patients we treat, because we know that they are not available in pharmacies, and this threatens the health of patients
Ipek Yuz, a deputy from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, revealed that, “The Ministry of Health has not set a new price for the drug dollar, and it probably will not do so before its annual meeting, which it holds every year in February. A solution to this crisis before it escalates further.”
He continued, “Many doctors, including myself, are confused when writing a prescription. We cannot prescribe medicines that we think are necessary for the patients we treat, because we know that they are not available in pharmacies, and this threatens the health of patients.”
The deputy and the doctor also warned of the need to find a solution to the problem of drug availability before they agreed upon further. He also said that “poverty may lead to visiting diseases, as it may force large numbers of people to work in unsuitable conditions, which threatens their health.”
He added, “The Ministry of Health should hold periodic meetings to determine the prices of medicines and how to import them, instead of meeting once every year, especially since medicines for some chronic diseases are starting to be lost in pharmacies.”
According to the Turkish Pharmacists Syndicate, drug importers and pharmacies suffer from problems in securing about 645 types of medicines.
The union criticized the Turkish government and demanded that it take effective steps to limit the aggravation of the problem of securing pharmaceutical items.
Ankara has not updated the mechanism for importing and distributing medicines through representatives to pharmacies, for about 14 years.
Also, the pricing mechanism for medicines has not changed since 2007, according to a statement by the Pharmacists Syndicate earlier this week.