Kazakh Health Ministry criticised for cuts in cancer and other drugs

The Ministry of Health cuts spending for expensive drugs for patients with cancer and rare diseases




In Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Health is receiving more and more criticism. The former Minister of Education, and now a deputy of the Mazhilis, Askhat Aimagambetov, criticised the Ministry of Health for reducing funding for treatment of oncological diseases. Dissatisfaction with the work of the department and the way it buys medicines was also expressed by people suffering from rare diseases.


In May 2024, a document appeared on the e-government portal. The document said that the Ministry intends to abandon the purchase of expensive drugs intended for patients suffering from rare diseases, as this will now be handled by charitable foundations.


The Ministry of Health’s initiative was regarded as a dismissal of responsibility and shifting it to non-profit organisations.


‘Instead of medication, patients in Kazakhstan received the following from the Ministry: “The Minister of Health was instructed to suspend the purchase of medicines due to budget constraints.” This is a quote,’ says Elena Vogonova, a patient with orphan disease from Almaty. ‘These are the answers that those with myasthenia have recently received. They are not the only ones experiencing difficulties with obtaining medication. Children with spinal muscular atrophy, myotonic dystrophy and others also suffer.”


In response to the actions taken by Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Health, members of the Association of Support to Patients with Orphan Diseases appealed to President Tokayev. According to the head of this association, the Ministry’s declaration of the “optimisation” of budget funds puts people with rare diseases on the brink of death. Patients believe that charitable foundations simply will not be able to fully provide patients in need with the necessary medicines.


Public figure Bakhyt Baigalieva highlighted that the Kazakhstan Khalkyna Public Foundation currently provides patients with expensive unregistered drugs. Kazakhstan Khalkyna already has approved patients, and it is not financially possible to expand the list of patients. This was also reported on the website of the public foundation, as well as directly to the Ministry of Health’.


The Ministry of Health responded to the criticism. According to the head of the department, Akmaral Alnazarova, all the necessary medications have already been purchased for this year. According to Alnazarova, at present the sources for funding are the Ministry of Health itself, the above-mentioned Kazakhstan Khalkyna and local executive bodies. Thus, Alnazarova assured people that there is no issue of budget savings for patients in Kazakhstan.


‘Today, no one is taking responsibility for providing orphan patients with medication. The question of saving budget funds or other funds is not worth it,’ Alnazarova emphasised. ‘Our task is to ensure the timeliness and effectiveness of the treatment that our patients receive. Unfortunately, there are questions about improving clinical protocols. There are drugs that are not included in the clinical protocols today. We have discussed this issue with the Kazakhstan Khalkyna Foundation.’


Prior to this, Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Health hads already been criticised by deputies of the Mazhilis for the decision to reduce tariffs for the treatment of cancer patients by 20 percent with immediate effect. According to the deputy of the Mazhilis, Askhat Aimagambetov, this will hit patients hard. In response, the Ministry of Health stated that after a detailed check at cancer dispensaries, it was found that their tariffs were allegedly overstated, and the department simply intends to redistribute budgets.


Source: https://rus.azattyq.org/a/minzdrav-kazahstana-sokraschaet-zakupki-dorogih-preparatov-dlya-bolnyh-redkimi-zabolevaniyami/32996284.html



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