Hysteria of domestic medicine producers over transferring medicine procurement to international organizations is nonsense – “Patients of Ukraine”, Centre for Fighting Corruption


Kyiv, November 24, 2015. If the transfer of medicine procurement to the international organizations is blocked, this must be beneficial to someone. Potentially of these kind of people is Petro Bagriy who is owner of a number of medical supply companies. The change of procurement system does not satisfy him because it means the death of corruption schemes. This was stated by Vitaly Shabunin, chairman of the Centre for Fighting Corruption at a press briefing at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Centre. “Out of six state medicine procurement programs, six are transferred to the international organisations. Last year Mr. Bagriy has earned 478 mln UAH on these tenders. One can surely make huge piles of money to keep this tasty morel in one’s hands,” said Vitaly Shabunin. According to him, the goal is to reserve this piece of tenders, through which the “not loyal bureaucrats were feathering their nests”. “Stealing from procurements for HIV-infected patients, from those ill with tuberculosis, hepatitis, where Mr. Bagriy’s companies received 91 percent of the overall budget, there must be some a healthy limit somewhere,”Mr. Shabunin said.

According to Olga Stefanyshyn, executive director of the charity foundation Patients of Ukraine, the only change in the reform of the Ministry of Healthcare this year has been the purchase of medicine and vaccines through international organizations, however, the implementation of the reform is endangered now. She revealed the data of Ukraine’s Security Service according to which 40 percent of the money in Ukraine were annually laundered in public procurements. All this hysteria of allegedly domestic producers is like a bubble “because only 6% of state programs through which the Ministry of Healthcare bought medicine are national manufacturers,” she said. Therefore the idea that national manufacturers have been offended is an illusion and a myth, which clashed with this figure.

Olga Stefanyshyn pointed out that the quality control and registration of drugs in Ukraine is highly questionable for patients. She cited two outrageous cases, namely about children ill with cystic fibrosis, medicine for whom were purchased by the Uman medicine factory. “This medicine made children with cystic fibrosis end up in intensive care ward,” she recalled. However, the medicine was registered and had a quality certificate, and only after the hype rose by activists and media, the Ministry of Healthcare banned this medicine. The second case concerns the drug against hepatitis B. That medicine appeared to be manufactured by a domestic producer, yet there was no information about its clinical testing. After the opposition of patients already prior to the drug’s registration, the court prohibited its use. “These are just two examples of how drugs are registered here and in what way producers receive quality certificates in Ukraine,” she noted.

Re-certification by the World Health Organsiation (WHO) is a life ring buoy for patients, says Olga Stefanyshyn. Since it’s an international quality standard which testifies that a drug is really of high-quality, that it has been tested and no one gave bribes there to obtain certificates, she said. However, the statement that WHO’s re-certification is an obstacle for participating in all public auctions is a myth. “Out of all the programs that the Ministry of Healthcare handed over to international organizations, only three fall under WHO’s re-certification, namely AIDS, tuberculosis and hepatitis,” underlined Ms. Stefanyshyn. The second myth mentioned by the spokeswoman of “Patients Ukraine” was that domestic producers could not obtain WHO’s re-certification. She gave an example of how patients with HIV infection were literally dying from what the Ministry had purchased in 2007. “That was “chalk”, it did not have any active ingredient. Why have our producers been failing to obtain the certificate of quality since 2007? – it is either laziness or simply a fear that they will not get one”. She advised the national producers to cooperate with this international organization so that domestic manufacturers not only participate in the Ukrainian tenders, but also enter the international level, since nowadays “our producers have the opportunity to cooperate with international organizations that sell medicine in over 100 countries in the world,” urged Olga Stefanyshyn.

Meanwhile, the patients themselves and their children suffering from severe diseases, the medicine for which are supposed to be purchased by the state, are still waiting, said Nina Astaforova-Yatsenko, who is the mother of a 7-year-old girl ill with Willy-Brandt disease and chairman of the charity foundation Children with hemophilia. “As we can see, it’s November now, there has been no procurements so far, and there is no medicine. Our national pharmaceutical industry plays games on tenders, but gentlemen have gone too far. They keep forgetting that the price of these games is human life, health and blood of our children,” she pointed out.