WHO finds Syrian situation grim, drug shortages critical

There have been drug shortages in the U.S. when a manufacturer has closed a plant for remediation. In Greece, supply issues are tied to the country's problems paying its bills. But the situation in Syria is dire in ways other countries fortunately do not have to face. 

According to a new report from the World Health Organization, the war-torn country is facing a shortage of life-saving drugs, and the means of paying for them. Patients with chronic illnesses are suffering most, with cancer medications and insulin in short supply, as well as oxygen, anesthetics and intravenous fluids. Hospitals and pharmacies just don't have them.

Before the fighting, Syria produced 90% of the drugs used there. WHO estimates that 90% of that production is gone because pharmaceutical plants have been closed or destroyed. Additionally, warehoused supplies for the first part of this year were lost when a government storage facility was destroyed.

A recent meeting of Syrian health professionals resulted in a list of 168 products "urgently needed" in the next 12 months, including 92 essential drugs and 33 cancer meds. Complicating the situation is the fact that Syria doesn't have the money to import drugs. The agency is seeking about $1.4 billion in aid to get the drugs and medical equipment.

- read the report

Related Articles:
War-torn Syrian drug plants shut down, triggering shortages
Greece accuses pharma of withholding meds, triggering shortages