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Russian Diabetes Patient Dies From Lack of Subsidized Drugs, Prosecutors Say

Dmitry Yermakov / Moskva News Agency

A Russian diabetes patient has died after local authorities delayed buying subsidized medication for months while giving “secret orders” for doctors to avoid issuing prescriptions, prosecutors have said.

The International Diabetes Federation estimated that there were around 8.5 million adult patients with diabetes in Russia in 2017. Experts warn that the disease is rapidly on the rise around the world, with annual costs of treatment spiraling.

Prosecutors in the southern region of Saratov have said that doctors declined to prescribe medication to a 28-year-old patient in January-May 2018 due to insufficient supplies in local pharmacies. The woman had allegedly received the necessary prescriptions for her kidney disease throughout 2017.

“Prior to signing the contract [in August 2018], the region’s health ministry gave district clinics secret instructions to not issue prescriptions,” the Saratov prosecutor’s office said Tuesday.

The unnamed patient died from complications after her family was forced to buy the medication at lower quantities and higher prices, the prosecutors said.

A criminal case has been launched into the provision of services that violate safety requirements and lead to death.

Local media reported that the late patient had complained to the local health ministry and human rights ombudswoman about doctors refusing to issue the prescriptions. The ombudswoman, Tatyana Zhurik, reportedly forwarded her complaints to the Saratov region prosecutor’s office.

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