UCAB became one of the main advocates for patients’ rights for treatment in Ukraine during 2 years of its existence

UCAB became one of the main advocates for patients’ rights for treatment in Ukraine during 2 years of its existence

During the last UCAB meeting on 29-31 October, 2012, main priorities for the next year were defined, and work undertaken over the last 2 years (since establishment) was summarized.

Thus, for the first time in the history of Ukraine almost 100% state funding was achieved for procurement of drugs for people living with HIV in Ukraine. It was the result of «Let Me Live!» advocacy campaign initiated by UCAB in 2011 and implemented in partnership, that yielded the unprecedented Mandate of the President of Ukraine regarding allocating state funds to ensure provision of ARV therapy to all needing it.

The most noted patient rights campaign this year was the «Deputy Altruist» campaign, its main purpose being advocating for giving away 1 billion of Hryvnias for the treatment of Ukrainians with Hepatitis, TB and AIDS. During the campaign, the whole territory of government block was covered with bigboards, city-lights etc. with an appeal to the Deputies to repudiate part of their expenses in favor of Ukrainian patients. More that 30 personal meetings with key party representatives were held. A Presidential Mandate is under preparation to allocate funds necessary for treatment of Ukrainians with life-threatening diseases in 2013.

To ensure honest use of funds allocated by the state to respond to the most dangerous diseases, UCAB representatives took membership in Tender Committees with the Ministry of Health. This year already, owing to the rigid oversight on part of patients it was possible to prevent overpayment of 37 millions for ARVs by revealing corrupt MOH schemes. Scandal in mass media related to these schemes and initiated by patient organization members helped to resolve this issue in public and recuperate part of the overplayed funds for the patients’ benefit.

«When it is about corruption, we take a compelling and uncompromising stand — every kopek of a state budget spent for treatment of people whose life depends on timely drug administration has to be spent rationally, says Dmytro Sherembey, Head of UCAB. — We make no concessions whatsoever or strike a compromise when it is about using state funds money. We need to be radical because people lives are at stake. In the nearest time we are going to submit to MOH a list of patients to participate in tender process in 2013. We hope that the Ministry will be open to that.» — Dmytro stresses.

For the first time since patients’ organization had started their activities in Ukraine UCAB managed to establish dialog with pharmaceutical companies and form an open communication platform through personal meetings and agreements. Ukrainian patients have already had meetings with 6 pharmaceutical companies manufacturing drugs to treat AIDS and Hepatitis. Thus, for example, during the last meeting with ViiV/GlaxoSmithKline company the issue of Abacavir-containing drug accessibility in Ukraine was discussed. This drug is patent protected till 2018 that forces the company to appeal to court every time when their rights are violated by generic companies. «None of the generic companies applied to GlaxoSmithKline with propositions to cooperate in order to raise access to Abacavir-containing products for Ukrainian patients. At the same time, we are open to review such proposals with those manufacturers who comply with our anticorruption regulations inspection, quality control requirements, production eligibility etc., according to ViiV/GlaxoSmithKline procedures.»

«For us, patients, such statement is very important because very often patients’ lives are endangered due to legal or court actions. We acknowledge GlaxoSmithKline’s openness to cooperate with generic companies and patients, and believe that such policy is able to save thousands of lives.» — says Oksana Vaschenchuk, UCAB member.

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