SOS from cancer patients


The Russia-Ukraine war, like other wars in the world, has affected all spheres of life in most parts of the world. The consequences of the ongoing war have started to be felt all across the world. This war has brought about misery for cancer patients and their families in Pakistan as the relatively inexpensive, affordable and effective cancer drugs that were being imported from Russia are no longer available in the local market. Pakistani banks have stopped opening Letters of Credit for imports from the two warring countries. Old stocks of Russian medicines and kits needed in the treatment of cancer have been used up. Medicines imported from Europe and other Western countries carry such high price tags that they are beyond the reach of most cancer patients. Those suffering from cancer have been left with no option but to rely on cheaper but less effective drugs imported from India and other countries.

This state of despondency has left physicians and traders bewildered. They are finding it difficult to let their voice heard by those countries from which cancer drugs can be brought in to save human lives. Trade and medical circles are anticipating further hike in the prices of drugs used in the treatment of malignancy as smart manufacturers would likely raise the prices taking advantage of the shortage of medicines. The concerned quarters have urged the government to allow the import of cancer drugs from Iran, Cuba and a few other countries. Cancer medicines manufactured in these countries are affordable and effective. Since it’s the question of saving precious lives, the government should permit import of cancer drugs from these countries.

Shortages of medicines needed by those suffering from other diseases too cannot be ruled out. Since the war in Europe has disturbed the supply chain, more difficulties seem to be in store for the people in developing countries. This war is disastrous for the warring nations. It’s affecting all humanity from Brazil to Australia.


Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2022.

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