Head of the Parliamentary Health Committee, MP Assem Araji, spoke about the loss of a large number of medicines, especially the chronic, cancerous and intractable ones.
Araji said during a meeting of the Public Health, Labor and Social Affairs Committee: “We, as doctors, know that these medicines must be taken on time, or else the patient will suffer a relapse, and the discussion is always with all concerned people, especially drug importers and the unions of doctors and pharmacists.”
He added: “When the Banque du Liban said that it had decided to give $35 million to support these chronic medicines, we said that this amount was not enough, and we asked to increase it, and our request was rejected. Banque du Liban says it does not have dollars, and it turns out that there are dollars and supports the Lebanese pound, and the most important thing for a person is his health. And the Banque du Liban allocates within the $35 million, $25 million for incurable and cancerous medicines, and $10 million for medical supplies.
He stressed that the 25 million dollars is not enough, and there is a proposal to go back and talk with President Mikati to increase the subsidy on medicine, and they say that there is a shortage of medicines, and an increase was proposed to 50 million dollars and 25 million for cancerous and incurable diseases to be given in dollars.
Talking about the budget, he said: “The budget of the Ministry of Health is about 2500 billion pounds, and if it becomes 3 billion pounds, then we can support chronic diseases in pounds in cash. There is another proposal: the drug card. The dispute we have is that there is no money. And I demand, if the budget is approved, to raise it by 500 billion pounds to support chronic medicines, launch with the card, and provide the market need.”
Araji concluded: “According to approximate data, there is a 50 percent decrease in the use of chronic medicines, and there has been talk about their evasion, meaning there was storage of medicines.”