Sindh Health Dept Ceases Free Supply of Cancer Drugs


by Hamna Bano

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At least five life-saving cancer drugs have ceased being supplied by the Sindh Health Department. This has resulted in endangering the lives of hundreds of people.

The Dr. Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi administration which was providing patients with free medication stopped the supply six months ago. It was said that the KHC Administration was trying to provide alternative medicine to people by compelling them to buy from the company directly to stay alive and survive.

Other major medicines like Revolade, Jakavi, Tasigna, and Glivec are also unavailable for patients with leukemia. These however were provided free of cost to the patients under CML (Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia) project. For this project, a memorandum of understanding was signed with Novartis, a multinational pharmaceutical company with the health department to provide free medication to the patients.


“For the past six months, these medicines have not been provided by the CHK administration. We have been told that the Sindh government has stopped the project through which these medicines were being given free of charge to patients,” said a patient while talking to the media.

Several other patients suffering from chronic conditions have come forward and confirmed that they have been forced to buy medicines costing from Rs.10,000 to Rs.15,000 directly from Novartis. This is happening due to the suspension of free medicine delivery to the patients.

A number of patients are complaining against Dr. Noor Samroo who is the Superintendent of CHK Medical Hospital. Patients are accusing Dr. Samroo of selling unregistered alternative medicines from his own private clinic that are quite ineffective.

“After getting the Sindh CML Project closed, Dr. Soomro started selling smuggled and unregistered medicines to patients from his clinic, which were ineffective and resulted in serious adverse effects to patients. He also used to ask patients to visit his private clinic if they needed free medicines for several weeks,” claimed a patient’s relative of a patient at CML Hospital.

While talking to a private news channel, Dr. Samroo said, “Novartis was providing the medicines at exorbitant rates, while some local companies had come with very cheap alternatives, which were also approved by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, adding that the health department is expected to resume supply of these medicines to patients soon”.