Lack of medical oversight | Variation of medicines’ prices in Idlib pharmacies deepens patients’ suffering
The prices of medicines in Idlib pharmacies, which is controlled by HTS and the factions, differ significantly from one pharmacy to another even in the same area, where the owners of these pharmacies control the prices of all types of medicines, deepening the suffering of civilians who are forced to look for a pharmacy from which they can buy a prescription at the cheapest and available price.
A child known by his initial as “M.S.” displaced from Jabal Shahshabo area in Hama countryside, who lives in the town of Kafr Takhareem, north-west of Idlib, suffers from several diseases such as weakened immunity, brain atrophy and others, while his mother bears the costs of his medicines monthly after the death of his father.
The child’s mother told SOHR that she is forced to pay a minimum of 200 TL each time she wants to buy some types of medicines, and suffers from high prices of medicines in general, especially neurological ones, as well as the differences in prices between pharmacies. For example, there are five pharmacies in the town and each one sells medicines at different prices. She added that the price of the same medicine differs between pharmacies from 2 to 4 Turkish liras sometimes, and, therefore, she is forced to buy all the needed medicines from many pharmacies at a reasonable price in line with her financial and living conditions.
Similarly, an old man known by his initial as “A.M” from the town of Armanaz, north-west of Idlib, who also suffers from several diseases such as diabetes and neurological diseases, and buys his medicine permanently, told SOHR that the cheapest medicine is about 10 Turkish liras. He is also trying to find a suitable price of medicines by stopping at several pharmacies before buying the medicine.
He added that the purchase of medicine has become like buying any other commercial commodity, as the patient and the pharmacist negotiate the price of medicine, because of the greed of some owners of these pharmacies and manipulation of the prices of medicines, ignoring the dire civilians’ conditions.
He concluded his testimony saying that he is forced to buy medicines at any price, because of his need for medicine, like many chronic disease patients who need medicines permanently, calling on the owners of these pharmacies to ease the burden on patients and take into account their living conditions.
On the other hand, a supervisor of a medicine warehouse in the northern Idlib countryside, speaks to SOHR explaining the high prices of some types of medicines “this is due to several reasons, firstly the lack of a medical monitoring body specialized in controlling prices and monitoring all pharmacies in Idlib area and its countryside, and the weak role of the Idlib Health Directorate. The second reason is that the instability of the exchange rate of the Turkish lira against the dollar, which leads some pharmacists to change their prices, in addition the greed of some of them.
However, these greedy pharmacists are few, as they mainly practice this profession without knowledge of medicines, in addition to other reasons such as various sources of medicine and others.