Punjab Finance Department has released one billion rupees for free treatment and free medicines of cancer patients in Punjab. The provincial treasury department has transferred the budget worth Rs1 billion to the account of the Department of Specialized Healthcare. As per details, free medicines will be provided to cancer patients at the Jinnah Hospital, Lahore. It may be recalled that dozens of cancer patients staged a protest on March 10, this year against the government for stopping the free supply of cancer drugs to poor patients and the increase in the price of the cancer medicines. The protesters blocked traffic and also shut down the Metro Bus Service at Kalma Chowk in Lahore and demanded the authorities withdraw the increase in the price of the drug Gleevec oral tablet, which for a cancer patient costs Rs0.4 million for a month’s use. “This medicine works as oxygen for cancer patients. We phoned Punjab Health Minister Yasmeen Rashid but she did not listen to us. Our only demand is to meet Yasmeen Rashid or government representatives and medicines should be provided to us absolutely free,” the protesters told the TV channel. However, the protesters ended their protest after the assurance of Model Town Assistant Commissioner Zeshan Ranjha. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz Sharif also tweeted, “Free medicine for cancer patients was stopped by the government which has itself become cancer for Pakistan. In the name of free cancer treatment, fundraising elements came to power and took away the right of government treatment for cancer patients.” Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar took notice of the stoppage of medicines to the cancer patients and directed the formulation of a plan of action for the supply of medicine from now onwards and warned that interruption in the regular supply of medicine will not be tolerated.