For Heghine Simonian, the memories of her 27-year-old daughter’s suffering are still raw. She can hear her daughter’s pleas for relief from the pain caused by terminal-stage breast cancer, yet no help was available -- for the simple reason she lacked access to painkillers.
Alleviating the suffering of the terminally ill often is difficult, if not impossible in Armenia. Although eligible patients are entitled to free, state-subsidized opioid painkillers, the process for acquiring them can prove so complicated and time-consuming that patients often die before they receive the medication.
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Gayane Abrahamyan is a freelance reporter and editor in Yerevan.