Romania cancer patients demand better access to treatment
2/4/2013 6:39:42 PM
Cancer patients in Romania on Monday called on the government to make the latest treatments for the disease affordable to end what they called an "inhumane situation".
The call by Romania's federation of cancer patient associations came on World Cancer Day.
"There is a huge discrepancy between the treatments available to cancer patients in other European member states and the ones available in Romania", federation president Cezar Irimia told journalists.
According to Irimia, the list of anti-cancer drugs covered by the state health insurance system has not been updated in the last five years.
In a country where the average monthly wage is 350 euros, Romanians diagnosed with cancer either have to find tens of thousands of euros if they want to benefit from the latest treatment available, or rely on old drugs.
It was an "inhumane situation", Irimia said.
One university professor said she could never have afforded the treatment for her melanoma had friends and colleagues not stepped in.
"I am one of the few happy case in this country", Adela Rogojinaru said, adding that her treatment costs 400 euros a day.
"If I had had to wait five years for this treatment to be covered by the medical state insurance, it would have equalled to a death sentence", she added.
About 75,000 Romanians are diagnosed with cancer every year.
Last week, the World Health Organisation called on countries around the world to implement plans to provide proper treatment and care for cancer patients.
"Cancer should not be a death sentence anywhere in the world, as there are proven ways to prevent and cure many cancers", Dr. Oleg Chestnov, in charge of the WHO's unit non-communicable diseases and mental health unit, said.