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Russian mother detained after buying banned drug for dying child

Russian mother detained after buying banned drug for dying child
A Russian woman was reportedly held by customs officials for seven hours after ordering an unregistered drug online for her terminally ill son. The news disturbed many people and even left the Kremlin “seriously concerned.”

Ten-year-old Misha, the son of Elena Bogolybova, suffers from Batten Disease or ceroid lipofuscinosis. As a result of the genetic degenerative illness, the boy “is being fed through the tube in his stomach. He can’t talk or walk. Misha is tortured by frequent convulsions,” Lisa Moniava, the deputy head of the hospice where the child is staying, wrote on Facebook.

None of the medication registered in Russia was helping with the seizures and doctors suggested that the child take the psychoactive drug, Frisium, which could only be ordered from abroad.

When Elena arrived at the post office on Monday, however, she was met by two officials from the customs services, who told her that “her package was seized as contraband.” She was then interrogated for seven hours, with the officers refusing to let her go even after being told that Misha had experienced gastric bleeding and was vomiting blood, Moniava wrote.

The mother was only released after Nyuta Federmesser, the head of the Vera Foundation, which assists hospices, addressed the Russian government on the issue.

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The customs service said that the detention was a routine procedure in the case of suspicious parcels. The contents of the package were examined by experts, who ruled that they were narcotics that are banned in Russia.

The woman was released after she presented a document stating the conclusion of a medical board that the drugs were needed for her child. The drugs were seized, with information passed on to the Interior Ministry, which will decide on the initiation of a criminal case against Bogolybova, the agency explained.

With certain unregistered drugs remaining out of reach for patients in Russia, “tens of thousands of parents are forced to become criminals, break the law, and risk going to prison to help their kids cope with seizures,” Moniava said.

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Online commenters called the whole affair “absurd” and blasted the shortcomings in the country’s legislation. “You caught a dangerous criminal. Great job! I’m actually speechless,” one of the users wrote.

After the news reached the Kremlin, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media that “when we’re talking about the mother of a sick child, of course, it causes serious concerns.”

“Thank God… that this situation has been resolved,” he said. However, Peskov pointed out that “it was resolved only partially,” promising that the Kremlin will ask the Health Ministry to facilitate work so that such incidents will be avoided in the future.

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