Kyiv, September 3, 2015. Reform of public procurement in the health sector has to change radically in favor of patient as a chief beneficiary. It must get rid of corruption. That is possible only by consolidating efforts of all parties involved in the process. This view was shared by all participants of the round table held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center as part of the Ukraine Reforms Communications Taskforce project.
Ihor Perehinets, Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine, said that the change should take place on the basis of successful international experience. For this purpose, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine (MOH) takes into account recommendations made by the World Health Organization and World Bank experts. In addition, two reform experience experts will start cooperating with the MOH supported by the European Commission. They will focus on making recommendations for changes in the registration of medicines and public procurement.
Perehinets also said that the two MOH decrees, designed to change approaches to public procurement, have almost been completed. The first order refers to the clinical protocols approval. They will serve as the basis for medicines procurement through national programs. The second decree covers medicines public stocks management and suggests accounting and auditing medicines stocks throughout Ukraine and creates an electronic database that will contain the latest information.
According to Perehinets, international organizations will make purchases for 1.8 bln UAH out of the budgeted 4.8 bln UAH. “MOH has a vision of changes that will have a major impact on the medicines public procurement management. We aim at formulating the subject of procurement in a transparent manner, involving all possible partners. Changes have already started, but we cannot change everything at once,” said Perehinets.
The idea of attracting the widest possible international practices in reforming public procurement system in Ukraine is actively supported by non-governmental organizations. Medicines public procurement reform suggests increasing international organizations share in these purchases from 35 percent in 2015 to 70 percent in 2017, followed (in 2019) by their reimbursement (monetary compensation to the patient within the prescribed medicines cost limits at the expense of the state budget). “In this way, the Ministry gets a three-year corridor for the reform when MOH experts can focus on certain experiments, “said Dmytro Sherembey, Head of the Patients of Ukraine Foundation.
Lana Sinichkina, partner at Arzinger law firm, commenting on the draft Concept components, stressed that the MOH must reform half out of 10 stages of medicines public procurement. The expert noted the importance of renewing treatment standards, introducing mandatory treatment protocols, ensuring transparency of medicines selection and appointing people responsible for medicines selection. “A reform can only work when there is responsibility for life and health related crimes,” said Sinichkina.
According to Vitaly Shabunin, Head of the Center for Combating Corruption, our country does not lack ideas or reform concepts. “There is a problem with desire to implement them. Therefore, I am convinced that only social activists and journalist can make the Ministry carry out the reform,” said Shabunin.
Olha Bohomolets, Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Health, agreed with this point of view. She stressed that opening reference prices and reference countries prices register should be part of the public procurement reform.