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January 27, 2023

Pharmaceutical… cancer

It is a generally known fact that the state of health in Romania is critical. We have the highest child death rate in the European Union. Cancer is expanding, with an incidence over 10 per cent above the European average: six women die in Egomania from cervical cancer every day. One of the reasons is that the share of free and subsidised medication keeps narrowing down. The completion of the list of such medication is postponed indefinitely. Politicians brag about the fact that patients with cancer do not have to wait for their treatment for seven month, but just for four months. But cancer can kill in four months. Because of that, but also of the incidence of cardiovascular, renal disease, diabetes, tuberculosis and even IDS, the average life span in Romania is a lot below the one in the rest of Europe. This tragic situation also comes from the fact that such disease and illnesses are only discovered in terminal stages.

Not only illness prevention is improper in this country, but also the medical care in incipient phases. Preventive medical treatment which regularly uses pharmaceutical products.
Do we have a crisis of pharmaceutical resources? Not at all! The number of pharmacies relative to the thousand inhabitants Romania has today is much higher than in other EU countries and statistics show that Romanians are some of the biggest consumers of medicaments in Europe. However, the drugs Romanians have access to are not always effective. In the absence of national policies for a reasonable use of drugs and of a proper dispensation control, the inflation of pharmacies becomes a noxious factor for human health. One that is amplified by an unfortunate government decision adopted about a year ago, that medical treatment should be mainly outpatient care. However, as we have stressed before, this government decision, launched in the social context of quasi-general poverty, favours the massive and uncontrolled misuse of medication. Which only deepens the health crisis in Romania. Why?
Because many of the people who need medical treatment have no choice but not to see the doctor at all, since the compulsory co-pay had been introduced also for office visits, and medicate themselves instead, addressing directly to pharmacists. This explosion of pharmacies is explained by the fabulous profits European drug producers make by exporting to Romania, which, in their turn, pharmacies by the fact that the politicians who now ‘deplore’ the health state of Romanians, are the party comrades of those who destroyed the national pharmaceutical industry either by fraudulent privatisation or by acting on foreign order to disuse the local industry with the pretext of being outdated.
This is how the drugs pone can now buy in pharmacies are imported in their vast majority. The effect they have after use on a long term is not even well known. But to such pharmacies, most of which are managed by non-specialists, it is not the effectiveness of drugs that counts, but the sale price. The obsession with price explains the fierce competition of pharmacies, with abusive and contradictory advertising that misleads the buyer, cultivating the confusion between authentic medicaments and supplements or mere cosmetics. Such abusive treatment of the buyers is also stimulated by the fact that many hospitals do not have the necessary medication even for emergency intervention, which means that patients are often forced to buy their won drugs even in hospital.
The various investigations that are being made uncover an amazingly high number of medical and pharmaceutical frauds, including deals pharmacy owners and hospital managers have to ‘guide’ hospitalized patients to certain pharmacies. The same pharmacies that sell prohibited medicaments, counterfeit vaccines to people with hepatitis or other chronic disease, as well as drugs that, instead of curing anxiety, develop addictions. In this last category one can find Xanax, a drug that makes pharmacies huge profits. Because the product creates major illusions to those who take it. It does have an immediate positive effect, but does not affect that cause of anxiety, therefore does not remove it, because it cannot compensate for the lack of self-control.
The reverse effect is also characteristic of the use of certain antibiotics pharmacies dispense both on prescription and over the counter as the case may be. That’s because, unlike other European countries, Romania has no national policy for the use of antibiotics. The only exception is tuberculosis. But one positive exception does not justify the negative rule. A negative rule sustained and amplified by the sale over the internet of drugs that are not officially available in pharmacies or are more difficult to get. This is what explains the high misuse of antibiotics in this country. Uncontrolled antibiotic use opens the door to other disease. Even in the case of prescription antibiotics, if there is an abuse, their therapeutic effectiveness disappears in time and end up by undermining the effectiveness of other drugs.
Healthcare discrimination is a current fact that helps importers and distributors make the maximum profit. All with the help – we should not forget this – of the political errors made in Romania in the last decades when the local pharmaceutical industry was disused by fraudulent privatisations or unjustified closure.

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