On the 30th of December 2013, representatives of patient and public organizations sent an open letter to the Minister of Health Mrs. Bohatyryova demanding the inclusion of members of the civil society in the tender committees of the Ministry to assure fair and transparent tenders.
As it became known, none of the representatives of civil society organizations and patients concerned with deadly diseases, was not included in the forecast committees of the Ministry of Health. De facto it cuts short the access of patients and civil society to the tenders for the procurement of drugs for the above-mentioned patients.
‘That’s nonsense, which shows that in 2014 the Ministry of Health wants to hold tenders using corruption schemes, that could only be prevented by public supervision, — stated Dmytro Sherembey, the Chairman of the patient’ organization UCAB — Engaging the patients in the tender process is the only way to prevent corruption and fraud in the procurement of drugs. A striking example of this is our recent publication of the information that this year the Ministry of Health overpaid Euro 1,2 million just on the procurement of drugs for HIV-infected, while this money could have additionally covered the treatment of 5000 Ukrainians’.
A similar opinion was expressed by representatives of the children’s hospital ‘Okhmatdyt’. Thus, Hanna Hopko, the Acting Chairman of the Board of Trustees of ‘Okhmatdet’ hospital says: ‘It is clear that the Ministry of Health is afraid of the civil society that counteracts corruption so that the sick children could get them on time. The Board of Trustees, along with volunteers and project ‘Tabletochki’ (‘The Pills’), acts in place of the State for years, providing drugs for seriously ill children with cancer and hematologic diseases. In addition, apart from independent search of resources, we also need to control over the procurement of quality medicines for the state budget, because last year the efforts of the Board of Trustees resulted in 2.5 times increase in funding from the state budget on medicines from UAH 90 to UAH 216 million, and now need a strict control over their spending,’ — adds Mrs. Hopko.
We would like to note that the public control over tendering is the most effective mechanism to conduct fair and transparent tenders. After all, patients do not allow the Ministry of Health to procure substandard or unnecessary drugs, as they are the experts in the field. A striking example is this year scandal around the procurement of drugs for children with cystic fibrosis. Due to the pressure of patients and the civil society the little patients received quality treatment at public expense.
‘Worldwide, the tender processes are conducted transparently and fairly, — says Vitaly Shabunin, the Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Action Center NGO. — In Ukraine, however, the price of drugs procured at public expense, sometimes is 10 to 20 times overstated. The only way to control and prevent such corruption is the presence of civil society at the state tenders at the initial stage, as part of the forecast committees that define a list of medications and dosages, and later in the tender committees that determine the procurement prices. If the society sees only the results of the tenders, it is often impossible for them to influence or to cancel such tenders. And if it is possible, the main victims of such circumstances are patients, because in the case of re-tenders they do not get their treatment on time’, — he adds.
Patients and civil society activists appeal to Madame Minister in their letter to include them urgently in all tender and forecast committees they applied to. It should be noted that the appeal was signed by 10 organizations, most of which protect the rights of patients with deadly diseases where treatment interruption for even one day can be fatal for the patient.
[dt_quote type=”blockquote” font_size=”normal” animation=”none” background=”plain”]Additional Information:
Ministry of Health budget for 2013 is UAH 9 billion. The draft budget for 2014 envisages almost UAH 10 billion on healthcare.[/dt_quote]
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