Thirty-five manufacturers joined the government program “Affordable medicine” providing reimbursement for medicines. “These are 18 manufacturers from the EU, 15 from Ukraine, Teva from Israel, and one producer from India. Medicines for cardiovascular diseases include 16 INNs and 127 trade names, for asthma it is 3 INNs and 6 trade names, for Type 2 diabetes it is 2 INNs, 24 trade names. Overall, 157 medicines participate in the program,” said Ulana Suprun, acting Minister of Healthcare of Ukraine, during a press briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “Among 151 names, 21 names are 100% free medicines for patients in three nosological groups. They range from 8 to 525 hryvnias,” added Roman Ilyk, Deputy Minister of Healthcare of Ukraine. The list of participating importers will expand further. The decision to distribute allocations between nosological groups is taken by local authorities.
To get medicines for free or with partial reimbursement, patients should contact their doctor, get a prescription made out by the international non-proprietary name (a sample on the Health Ministry website), and take this recipe to a pharmacy participating in the program. The cheapest medicine with a relevant active substance (according to INN) is available for free, more expensive are with partial surcharge. The prescription is valid 30 days.
Throughout Ukraine, about 1,400 pharmacies have joined the program or are closing an agreement. Vinnytsia, Chernivtsi, Poltava, Mykolaiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Cherkasy and Kherson regions are among the leaders. Over 100 pharmacies there have preliminary agreements with the fund manager to participate in the project. The list of pharmacies participating in the program should be published on the website of the Ministry of Healthcare and local authorities. The pharmacies should be marked as program participants and must publish the lists of available medicines involved in the program.
“Affordable medicine” is a very important support for low-income populations, noted representatives of NGOs. “We have around 40-60 patients a month, an average check is UAH 1,000. If even 30% go through the program, and there will be more, then we can help more people, more efficiently and in more serious diseases,” said Oksana Sukhorukova, volunteer of the charitable organization “Charitable foundation “SVOI”. Volodymyr Kurpita, executive director of the charity organization “Merezha 100% Zhyttya”, added that the program is a significant contribution not only to healthcare reform, but also decentralization reform because it gives more power and responsibility to local authorities.
The success of the program depends heavily on local authorities and the initiative of doctors and patients
Now the success of the program depends on local authorities and the initiative of doctors and patients as the government and Ministry have taken all necessary decisions and allocated funds to the regions. “We sent a clear message that in some months […] we will reallocate the funds to the areas that work better. At first, we will do this within the region. If the region as a whole fails, then under the Cabinet decision, the funds from this region will be redirected to those whose municipalities implement the project more successfully,” noted Roman Ilyk. He stressed that manufacturers and pharmacies participate in the project on a voluntary basis. Ulana Suprun noted that the more active are the local governments in implementing the program, the more pharmacies and manufacturers join it.
Funding for the program is adequate
The Ministry of Healthcare representatives noted that allocated 500 million hryvnias are adequate for the current year. “According to our calculations, 350 million hryvnias will suffice for 21 INNs included in the project. If we take into account people who currently do not buy drugs for lack of money, and the fact that the project is implemented from April, and not from January […], these funds are absolutely adequate. Moreover, the government gave an assurance that in case of lack of money for our project they would finance it sufficiently,” noted Roman Ilyk.
Roman Ilyk reminded that the program “Affordable medicine” is implemented as part of the national policy on providing the population with drugs until 2025. “We submit this policy for approval to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. We look forward to the prompt adoption of this document as it is a clear benchmark for the market and patients,” he said. Dmytro Romanovych, senior project Manager office of reforms of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, assured that the health care reform is one of the highest priority, and the government will continue to promote its implementation.