Turkey's public health care system now reimburses patients for more than 8,500 different medications, including some drugs used to treat rare diseases.
The list of drugs eligible for reimbursement now includes 6,653 locally produced and 1,957 imported medicines, Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk announced Monday.
According to a statement on the ministry’s website, 58 of the drugs are biosimilars, while 205 are biotechnological drugs and 738 are medicines used in cancer treatments.
She said some 636 licensed medicines, including 435 in 2019 and 201 in 2020, were included in the reimbursement list. Of them, 513 were domestically produced and 123 were imported, Selçuk said.
Some of the medicines in the reimbursement list are used to treat rare diseases.
"The only treatment for the combined immunodeficiency patient ... is a medicine on the reimbursement list. The drugs used in the treatment of some one-in-a-million diseases are also provided by the government," she said.
In the last 10 years, Turkey has taken steps to rejuvenate its once crumbling health care system. Hospitals run by the Health Ministry and Social Security Fund (SGK), formerly known as the Social Insurance Fund, were merged to prevent overcrowding. The government also cut red tape by treating patients with social security at teaching hospitals.
In addition, city hospitals, mainly built in the suburbs, are the latest addition to Turkey's drive to modernize its health sector. They aim to improve health standards by significantly increasing hospital bed capacity and addressing the shortage of doctors.
These large hospital complexes provide services in a diverse range of medical specialties not available in other hospitals in many cities.
To ensure quality service, the government has adopted a public-private partnership model for the construction and operation of the complexes. The city hospitals are being leased to private companies and the government only pays fees for medical imaging, laboratories, security, maintenance and health care workers' salaries.
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