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Free cancer treatment: how to obtain necessary medications

Victor LitvinenkoNews
The state centrally procures medicines and medical devices necessary for the treatment of cancer. Source: https://ru.freepik.com/author/pikisuperstar

Cancer is a devastating disease, but patients do not face it alone. The state centrally procures medicines and medical devices necessary for cancer treatment. These purchases are made by the national agency Medical Procurement of Ukraine (MPU) upon request from the Ministry of Health. The drugs are then supplied directly to hospitals, where Ukrainians receive them free of charge.

Today, on World Cancer Day, we will provide more detailed information on the medicines procured by the Ministry of Health and how to access them.

Which free medicines does the state provide for cancer patients?

In 2023, Medical Procurement of Ukraine purchased nearly 100 different drugs and medical devices for the free treatment of cancer in adult patients, totaling over UAH 2.1 billion. Additionally, UAH 400 million was allocated for medicines for treating children with cancer.

Medical Procurement of Ukraine procures chemotherapeutic drugs, radiopharmaceuticals, accompanying drugs (to reduce the toxicity of chemotherapeutic drugs), and medical devices used in cancer treatment, among others.

For instance, active substances such as abiraterone, anagrelide, rituximab, bicalutamide, letrozole, paclitaxel, trastuzumab, carboplatin, oxaliplatin, bortezomib, idarubicin, sunitinib, imatinib, etc., are used to treat various cancers including those affecting the prostate, bladder, lung, neck, breast, ovarian, esophagus, kidney, etc.

How can one obtain free medicines?

Patients need to visit a hospital, undergo necessary examinations, and receive a confirmed diagnosis. Subsequently, according to the protocols, their specialized doctor will prescribe treatment with a specific drug. If these medications are available at the healthcare facility, patients should be provided with them free of charge.

Note: Patients can check the availability of a particular drug in hospitals using the Telegram bot of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine: https://t.me/medpro_ukraine_bot. This bot aggregates information on stocks that healthcare facilities submit to the Ministry of Health twice a month.

Modern equipment for cancer treatment

In 2023, 15 linear accelerators were also purchased. This equipment enables the use of X-rays or gamma radiation to target cancer cells or tumors in a patient's internal organs, destroying them or halting their growth, while minimizing damage to healthy tissues.

Linear accelerators are crucial and expensive equipment. For the first time, they were centrally procured in such a large quantity using state budget funds.

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