In response to claims that personnel at a state cancer hospital were stealing pricey medications to resell on the black market, thousands of people demonstrated outside the government building in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, on Monday.
According to the article from AP News, Demonstrators yelled “Murderers,” calling for the resignation of the hospital administration and the nation’s health minister. Several demonstrators claimed that their relatives had passed away after receiving placebos rather than actual chemotherapy because the medication had been stolen.
One of the young men informed the gathering, “My mother had breast cancer and her situation deteriorated a week after she was admitted to the clinic. The man, who did not disclose his name, called the hospital’s alleged actions “monstrous” and said, “Unfortunately, she did not survive.”
While prosecutors have started an inquiry into the claims, the government and hospital officials have tried to reassure the public that cancer patients are not at risk.
Dimitar Kovachevski, the prime minister, stated on Monday that he “understands the anger and indignation of the people,” but stressed that the entire public health system should not be held accountable.
According to Verve Times, Following a flurry of media inquiries into the purported scam, the issue surfaced a few months ago. A nurse at a hospital in Skopje was detained by police in May on suspicion of stealing cancer medications to resell on the black market after she was allegedly spotted on surveillance footage sneaking them out of the premises.
Police searched the hospital and the residences of two employees on Friday, taking data drives, computers, and documents. No one was taken into custody, and no complaints have been lodged.
In Skopje on Monday, hospital director Violeta Klisarova and health minister Fatmir Mexhiti informed reporters that “patients are safe and there is no manipulation with the therapy.”