The latest studies of the EU health and quality of life surveyâ€™s underline the well-known fact that the Romanian health system is the least efficient form the entire European Union. The Romanians feel the short-comings on their own flesh, knowing that the Romanian health system is extremely sick and sometimes even in a comatose state. The greatest paradox of this situation is the fact that even if the healthcare system is affected by short-comings, it produces some of the best European doctors.
Sadly after all these short-comings, there is more bad news revealed. In Romania, the pharmaceutical market sells with absolute no problems a series of drugs that are banned in the rest of the European Union due to their harmful potential.
The annual market value of Algocalmin is estimated at about 11 000 000 Euros, because itâ€™s cheapness transformed it into Romaniaâ€™s favorite painkiller. The European Agency for the Evaluation of Medical Products, whose recommendations we have to consider does not restrict Algocalmin. However, most European countries have banned its use many years ago, because itâ€™s main ingredient, metamizole can cause a fatal disease called Agranulocytosis. The disease destroys the bone marrow cells, in other words, treating your headache with Algocalmin leads to profound alteration of the blood. Last year the Romanian authorities have decided to make Algocalmin available to the public only on a prescription basis.
Even more dangerous than Algocalmin are the drugs that are using another active substance in composition with Metamizole. By far Piafen (Metamizole and antispasmodic) is the most harmful. Another similar drug is Benalgin, a painkiller based on caffeine and Metamizole. Both are sold in pharmacies in Romania freely. Metamizole was first banned in America and Sweden in 1977. Today, the substance that makes “the poor manâ€™s painkiller” in Romania is prohibited in Denmark, Belgium – where it is listed under the section of poisons, Germany, Spain – in 1989, Netherlands – since 1990, Greece and Ireland.
On the list of analgesics considered harmful but still widely sold in Romania is also found Novalgin and Dipyrone, drugs that have as active components: normidopirina, methanesulphonate, Butazolidine, Rheopirin R Reumopiryrine, which are based on phenylbutazone. Worse, Aulin is marketed and its forms for children (pediatric) though the risk is even greater. Aulin is banned in countries like Spain, Britain, Finland, Turkey, USA, Australia or Japan, because it was found that often causes fatal liver failure.
European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products has banned the administration of Aulin to children under 12. Aulin was restricted even in the producing country, Ireland. Irish Council for Safety of Medicines warned of the danger posed by the drug.
And the list goes on and on:
- Isoproterenol asthma spray, marketed under the name Isuprel, killed in the 60â€™s about 3,500 patients. However it is still sold in Romania.
- Stilbestrol has been proven to cause uterine and mammary tumors and was taken off the market in some European countries. In Romania it is produced and marketed by 4 pharmaceutical companies.
- Plaxin Pronap â€“ a powerful tranquilizer still available in Romania known for its ability to cause death to new born children.
- Thyreotom Forte, a medicine for thyroid hormone repletion in patients with hypothyroidism, was removed from the market in Germany in 2005. The drug is still prescribed by our doctors and is found in pharmacies.
- Roacutan â€“ 30 years ago, a study in the UK has clearly proven that using this drug during pregnancy can lead to severe malformations of the newborn. Over 50% of mothers that used during pregnancy Roacutan had haggard children. Roacutan is still available in Romania.
- Zelmac, a drug against digestive disorders, which currently sells in Romania, manufactured by Novartis, was banned from the German market in April 2007, although its release was not approved.
- Ketotifen, a drug for long-term treatment in allergic asthma, was removed in 2006 from the market in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany because of serious side effects in the eye and kidney. In Romania is located in pharmacies at prices between 15.55 and 29.99 lei.
- Methotrexate, a drug prescribed against leukemia, caused tumors and led to severe anemia and intestinal rupture. In Romania it is marketed and prescribed to reduce pain and joint swelling.
- Mitothan, another drug against leukemia, leads to kidney failure.
We all know that most drugs can have side-effects and that most of those side-effects are â€œisolated casesâ€ but my question is: Why market some drugs freely when the dangers are obvious enough to other countries that find alternatives for the dangerous substances?
As doctors what would you recommend your patients?
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