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Diabetes drug causes serious uproar in Armenia

04 November 2014 [11:59] - TODAY.AZ


By Mushvig Mehdiyev

A diabetes drug in Armenia caused a great uproar among the patients and doctors. An Indian-made medicament is said to slowly kill the diabetes patients.

Indian DiaZone MR diabetes drug caused a serious disturbance among the diabetes patients in Armenia who have taken the drug. They complained about muscle pain, upset stomach, dizziness and headaches. Several users of DiaZone MR have even slipped into comas, revealing the drug's dangerous impact. Patients claim that it has been posing a real threat since its approval for use. Physicians informed the drug agency on the adverse drug reactions, but they were repeatedly ignored and never investigated.

Hetq, an influential investigative journalism organization in Armenia, reported that although the Ministry of Health usually approves the imported drugs within six months, this Indian import took a month to get the ministry's approval. The governmental body was so in a hurry to legalize the import of poor quality medicine that left a number of mistakes even in the leaflets containing necessary information for users. If not to mention other irregularities observed in the process of approval.

Local media and analysts believe that the importation of DiaZone MR is patronized by an influential figures, who prevent to stop its import. Even the resignation of the former Health Minister Derenik Dumanyan, who organized the drug tender, could not block the import of the "killer" drug.

Armenia is facing an increasing number of registered diabetes patients. There are 930 registered diabetes patients just in Goris village of Syunik region, while the figure is supposed to be higher. The local polyclinic reported that almost 12-15 new diabetes cases are registered in the village every week and immediate measures are needed to prevent the ongoing trend.

The government fails to supervise the bids on procurement of drugs. The cheapest price usually wins the tenders on medicament importation. The relevant bodies are almost unable to check quality of drugs and its conformity with internationally accepted norms.

The Health Ministry was reportedly asked to verify whether DiaZone MR or others drugs imported to Armenia by the same company meet the requirements of a registration protocol. The ministry refused to present the copies of the documents to prove the validity of drugs.

Abraham Lincoln's famous "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out" saying has turned into a common motto for the individuals, who have taken the Hippocratic Oath - proof of the doctors' supreme responsibilities before the patients. One of the doctors annulled the Hippocratic Oath's supremacy and revealed the real scenario saying he will lose his job if he speaks out. These physicians in Armenia have willingly or unwillingly condemned their patients to a slow death, instead of adhering their duties as a human and a doctor.

The World Health Organization ranked Armenia first in the region for the deaths caused by diabetes. It also stated that the post-Soviet nation has the highest prevalence of diabetes in the whole Caucasus. The organization forecasted the number of the diabetes patients in Armenia to increase from about 120,000 to over 206,000 in 2030.

The International Diabetes Federation's report matched the WHO's data and revealed that every tenth resident in the South Caucasus country will live with diabetes by 2030. It also added that roughly 400 children in the country suffer from diabetes and their number is growing. The total number of the diabetes cases in Armenia was 54,950 in 2013.

The International Diabetes Federation says some 382 million people have diabetes worldwide and more than 56 million diabetes patients live in the European region.


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