Cancer patients protest unavailability of free medicines in govt hospitals

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Staff Reporter

Dozens of cancer patients staged a protest on Wednesday against the government for stopping of free supply of cancer drugs to poor patients and the increase in the price of the cancer medicines.

The charged protesters blocked traffic and also shut down the Metro Bus Service at Kalma Chowk in Lahore.

They demanded the authorities withdraw the increase in the price of the drug, Gleevec oral tablet, which for a cancer patient costs Rs0.4 million for a month’s use.
“This medicine works as oxygen for cancer patients.

We phoned Punjab Health Minister Yasmeen Rashid but she did not listen to us.

Our only demand is to meet Yasmeen Rashid or government representatives and medicines should be provided to us absolutely free,” the protesters told the TV channel.

However, the protesters ended their protest after the assurance of Model Town Assistant Commissioner Zeshan Ranjha.

In a quick tweet, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz Sharif said, “Free medicine for cancer patients was stopped by the government which has itself become a cancer for Pakistan. “

The PML-N leader said,” In the name of free cancer treatment, fundraising elements came to power and took away the right of government treatment for cancer patients.”

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar took notice of the stoppage of medicines to the cancer patients and ordered the immediate provision of the medicine.

Usman Buzdar directed the formulation of a plan of action for the supply of medicine from now onwards and warned that interruption in the regular supply of medicine will not be tolerated.

A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Finance and Development has been convened on Thursday (tomorrow) in this regard.

Reportedly, the stoppage of life-saving medicine to over 5,500 blood cancer patients enrolled at the government hospitals in Punjab has put their health and lives at a risk.