The Health Ministry has moved to address the country's chronic problem of medicine shortages, which have come about due to the lengthy permission process for importing drugs.
Patients had to wait for months at times for approval of medicine imports as the number of labs where the drugs are tested is limited. Currently, about 1,500 drugs have pending approvals and the process is expected to be concluded in four months.
Cancer patients in urgent need of medication are particularly vulnerable to the shortage of medicine as domestic medicine production is low.
Cost of imports amount to TL 1 billion ($370 million) every year including the cost of the approval process involving doctors' permission, repeated tests et cetera. To cut the costs and decrease waiting times for the patients, the ministry signed a deal with the drug analysis laboratories at Hacettepe University, which houses a leading school of medicine. Further deals with laboratories of other universities are expected in the near future.
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