Shortage of medicines in Serbia

Shortage of medicines in Serbia


By Milos Mitrovic – Belgrade

A lot of ordinary people in Serbia responded to twitter appeal of Timothy John Byford (photo), the author of once popular TV shows for children, such as “Poletarac” and “Neven”. Byford had been fighting with cancer, but he could not find the medicine he needed. He drew attention to the fact that the lack of medicines could represent the threat to many people in Serbia.

In the last couple of days Serbian media were occupied with stories about Byford’s health, rather than about his impressive work, FoNet News Agency reported. The reason for that is the fact that “Duragesic”, a medicine used for relief of moderate to severe pain, such are cancer pains, cannot be found in Serbian pharmacies.

“I think that things were better in 16th century. You died, or found somebody who had plants. Nowadays, it seems that the more you try, the harder it becomes”, Byford said.

Since Byford had drawn public attention to the lack of “Duragesic”, a lot of people from Serbia as well as from abroad offered their help. However, Serbian government did not react. The only politician who contacted Byford was Dusan Milisavljevic, a medical doctor and the chairman of the Committee for Health Care System of Serbian Parliament.

The list of lacking medicines in state owned pharmacies is growing, because it is still not clear whether the provision would be centralized or the pharmacies would be excluded from the implementation of the national Law of public procurement, which came in force on April 1st.

“I did this in order to pull the attention to the overall situation, not for my own sake. There are people who are sicker than me”, says Byford and adds that he would like politicians to admit that there is a shortage of medicines in Serbia.

“It would make me happy if the politicians, if the government admit that, and they say that all this is incorrect, that there is no shortage. But if this had been incorrect, these medicines should have been in the pharmacy. I would have been so happy if I had been wrong, if all of us had been wrong, if the situation had been perfect. If only they could prove it, but, obviously, this is not the case, the shortages are evident. Apparently, the government does not want to admit that”, Byford said.