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Turkey's medicine shortages could turn into 'drug famine' with no end in sight

In all Turkish pharmacies Al-Monitor visited recently, the drug shortage was palpable. Children's medicines, antibiotics, some cancer drugs top Turkey's long-unavailable drug list.
An employee takes a box of medicines on shelves at a pharmacy in the Turkish capital Ankara on December 13, 2021. - Turkeys pharmacists have brought to light the struggle of many patients who need medicines to treat diseases like diabetes and childrens fevers but cannot find them. They say the crisis that has deteriorated because of the fall in the Turkish liras value. (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)

ADANA — “They are out," said the father of a sick 4-year-old boy to his wife on the phone at a small pharmacy in Turkey’s southern province of Adana. He was desperate to find antibiotics for his son just a few days after a plane carrying 250,000 bottles of children's pain and fever relief medication from Turkey arrived in Canada to relieve the North American country of its drug shortage.

“Of course, I’m angry at the government,” Yusuf Hakverdi told Al-Monitor. “We went to four different pharmacies to find antibiotics. What good is the government?” he vehemently asked, adding that this was not the first time he was returning home empty-handed from a medicine hunt over the past year, echoing the outrage of millions. 

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