Bodybuilders exhaust breast cancer treatment drug supplies to prevent ‘breast sagging’
The breast cancer drug “tamoxifen” is in short supply because of gym users seeking to negate the breast-boosting effects of steroids, daily Habertürk reported on Oct. 23.
The issue came to light when cancer patients began to obtain the drug from the black market, as the two provider firms fell short of meeting demands. Many women had gathered on social media and requested help from authorities. If surpluses were at hand, some women have reportedly helped each other.
Research on the origins of the crisis then led to gym-goers, who were discovered to have increasingly resorted to “tamoxifen” in order to counteract their altered body images following steroids usage. Steroids cause an increase in estrogen, which causes breast tissue to grow.
The findings led some cancer patients to inquire about the drug at gyms, which were reported to have stockpiled the drugs.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has confirmed that bodybuilders have overstocked “tamoxifen” without prescription, since the drug cannot be found in many districts of Istanbul, despite the approximately 93,000 boxes of the drug imported to Turkey from abroad, daily Habertürk said.
Cancer patients have a chance to order the medication online, but need to pay three to four times the normal price, reaching up to 139 Turkish Liras.
Habertürk reached out to a website administrator that sold the drug online and pretended to be a customer.
“I sell 30-40 boxes per day. A box costs 139 liras. I sell them to gyms. I can buy 1,000 boxes from pharmaceutical warehouses un-prescribed … You cannot find them elsewhere on the internet. It is our business regarding how we obtain the drug from warehouses, pay no mind to that. This drug will not be found in Turkey after two months, as the country does not produce it,” the site’s administrator reportedly said.
“The drugs are monitored on the Medicine Monitoring System (İTS). We can monitor how much medicine has been given away from a warehouse through İTS. As the impression has risen that this drug is not on the market, citizens have been making doctors prescribe them large quantities. In the case that there is high demand, warehouses give away limited amounts of the drug, meaning drug warehouses want to give away fewer quantities in order to meet the demand,” the Turkish Pharmacists’ Association President Erdoğan Çolak said regarding the incident.
“According to the law on pharmaceutical warehouses, warehouses can only sell by retail or wholesale to pharmacies. If they sell to other places apart from this, they are committing a crime,” he said.
On the other hand, the honorary president of the Breast Health Society of Turkey (MEMEDER), Prof. Dr. Vahit Özmen, warned against the side effects of “taxomine,” saying it was very wrong for some gym-goers to use this drug to enhance their physique.
“We have recently learnt that this drug is not to be found on the market … It is very wrong for gym-goers to use this drug in order to prevent breast sagging. It has some serious side effects, such as intravascular coagulopathy, lipoidosis and lung anomy,” said Özmen.