Oncology departments in Turkey must be ‘investigated’

Oncology departments in Turkey must be ‘investigated’

Aysel Alp ANKARA / Hürriyet
Turkish Health Ministry should investigate all hospitals’ oncology departments as part of a comprehensive investigation launched into counterfeit cancer drugs, Turkey’s top pharmacies union has said.

As most of the cancer drugs are not suitable for individual practice, cancer treatment clinics or hospitals are the real buyers of these medicines, said General Secretary of Turkish Pharmacists Association, Harun Kızılay told daily Hürriyet.

“Therefor Health Ministry should focus on university, public and private hospitals’ oncology sections,” he said.

Istanbul police have raided an organized crime gang on Dec. 12 that had been selling counterfeit cancer drugs in Turkey and abroad, in an operation carried out in nine separate cities.

Kızılay said each medicine has one identity number called data matrix from its manufacture until its distribution that can be tracked through a system called Drug Tracking System. The Social Security Institution (SGK), the body that pays for the drugs in behalf of the state, and private pharmacies can share provision thanks to this electronic system, which makes it impossible for counterfeit drugs to be sold at pharmacies.

However, there are no such notification and approval mechanisms active for the drugs used at hospitals, Kızılay informed, asserting all of the drugs sold under fake names were the ones used in hospital environment.

No possibility of tracking

“Cancer is a chronic illness and its medications should be given at hospital environment. Patients don’t buy his drug and go to hospital, the drug is given to him at hospital,” he said.

Recalling the health ministry had kicked-off a “daily treatment” practice five years ago, Kızılay said because of the this system there is no possibility of tracking any medicine.

Kızılay claimed it is also possible that these drugs may not be counterfeit and be stolen from clinics or hospitals and sold to somewhere else.

“Hospital part is blurred, actually this should be addressed and clamped down,” he added.