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The number of drug packages sold across Turkey was 700 million in 2002, while this number increased to 1.9 billion in 2012 reports Today's Zaman
In just 10 years, consumption has increased dramatically, and many homes in Turkey now contain a stockpile of pharmaceutical drugs.
Too many people in Turkey use medications irrationally and excessively according to what they think is right instead of a doctor’s instructions, which has turned Turkish homes into veritable medicine cabinets full of unnecessary drugs.
The arbitrary use of medications continues to be a serious and widespread public health problem in Turkey. After public access to medication became easier in 2002 following new regulations by the Health Ministry and when people were able to buy their medications from pharmacies easily and without bureaucratic difficulties in 2005 because of changes in the law, demand for medicines increased across the country. People began to use medications unnecessarily without a doctor’s prescription.
A survey recently conducted by the Social Security Institution (SGK) also revealed the same pattern. According to the survey results there are a total of 190 million packages of medications saved in homes across Turkey, corresponding to an average of 11 drug products per household. In one-third of these drug packages, over 80 percent of the product remains. In other words, people use only some of the medication then keep the rest. The most frequently saved types are painkillers, antibiotics and medications for rheumatic disease and colds.
Soner Varol, who has more than 50 packages of drugs in his home, told Today’s Zaman that among the medications he has saved in his house are his mother’s prescriptions. He says: “We kept those medications just in case we may need them one day in the future. There is a child in the house. Maybe he might also need them.”
Sixty-year-old Kazım F., who went to a family physician in the Küçükçekmece district of İstanbul, mentions the name of a medication on a list he has brought. He asked the doctor to prescribe painkiller X, but the doctor said: “This medicine you mentioned is not a painkiller, it is an antibiotic. It will not be useful for you at all.” Kazım F. says, “My wife believes this medication reduced her pains.”
In another incident, Reyhan G. from İstanbul wants a doctor to prescribe a medication in case something happens although her stomach no longer aches. She also wants the doctor to add a drug for a cold to the prescription although she is not sick. She also tells the doctor her neighbor advised a particular drug for colds and wants the doctor prescribe this recommended this drug for her.
These examples reflect a common attitude regarding medication use.
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