Initially almost no one believed in success of this campaign. Nevertheless today we proudly share our joy – we did it together! In 2016 international organizations will procure medicines for seriously ill Ukrainians at public expense in full. On Tuesday, January 12, 2016 the relevant order of the Cabinet of Ministers entered into force.
For almost 10 years NGOs and activists in Ukraine are trying to combat corruption in procurement of vital medicines by means of public monitoring and annual data publishing. According to the data from the Security Service of Ukraine only, up to 40% of public funds were annually laundered during tenders of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, which amounted approximately USD 50 million per year. This means broken lives of 40% of children and adults all over Ukraine.
In the light of outrageous corruption at the highest political level it was essential to find an out-of-the-box solution.
For more than a year CF “Patients of Ukraine”, Anticorruption Action Centre and hundreds of activists were fighting for the possibility of kids and adults with serious diseases to receive the necessary treatment on time. For rooting out corruption which each year prevails in public tenders of the Ministry of Health. For the procured medicines were truly of high-quality. Protest actions in front of the Ministry of Health and the Cabinet of Ministers, negotiations with MPs and officials, hundreds of publications in mass-media – this was all aimed to provide seriously ill Ukrainians with the possibility to receive necessary medicines on time and cease money flowing into the pockets of officials. On March 19, 2015 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a law, which allows the Ministry of Health to use the services of specialized international organizations during procurement of medicines and vaccines at public expense. It took more than half a year for the Ministry of Health to develop the relevant draft laws and organize this process.
Currently, such organizations as UNDP, UNICEF, Crown Agents procure medicines for Ukrainian patients for Budget-2015 funds under twelve programs, among which: vaccines, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis, oncology, pediatric hemophilia and cardiovascular disease for a total amount of more than UAH 2,197 billion. Crown Agents and UNDP announced first tender offers to purchase medicines for tuberculosis and cancer on December 7, 2015.
“We have been monitoring the Ministry of Health tenders for many years. No manufacturer was willing to participate in the MOH tenders directly. There always existed intermediate agents between the Ministry of Health and the pharmaceutical company – “shell company” that actually served as an instrument for laundering of tens of millions of dollars. It was impossible to overcome this “mutual cover-up” in the usual way, because it was covered by the officials at the highest political level”, – states Vitaliy Shabunin, Head of the Board of the Anticorruption Action Centre.
“The only solution that allowed us to completely eradicate corruption schemes and provide thousands of patients with needed and high-quality medicines was – to withdraw medicines procurement from the Ministry of Health. Currently procurement will be carried out by the independent international organizations which will control the quality of a product and search for the most favorable price for Ukraine all over the world. Now, no official can steal even one Ukrainian hryvnia from severely ill patients, leaving them without medications. This step is a great breakthrough for Ukraine. We think that such a system could be a way out for the other post-Soviet countries with high level of corruption and we are ready to share our experience”, – adds Olga Stefanyshyna, Executive Director of CF “Patients Ukraine”.
The transfer of drug procurement to international organizations – is a temporary measure (until 2019) that will allow to form the national procurement system which will function on the principles of transparency and money, allocated for medicines, will be spent for its intended purpose and won’t flow into the pockets of officials.
Every day around 1600 Ukrainians die due to the lack of medicines in Ukraine.
Activists would like to express sincere gratitude to the authorities who at every step of the campaign fought to bring this innovative mechanism in life, namely to MPs: Olga Bogomolets, Anna Hopko, Oksana Korchynska, Yegor Sobolev, Deputy Head of Presidential Administration Dmytro Shymkiv, Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko and Deputy Minister of Justice Gia Getsadze. Special gratitude is expressed to Deputy Minister of Health Igor Perehinets for his tireless day-and-night work. Thanks for support and help in coordination of this initiative is given to WHO Country Office in Ukraine and Dorit Nitsan Kaluski as well as to international organizations: UNICEF, UNDP and Crown Agents which are trying their best to provide Ukraine with vital medicines as soon as possible.
Contact person: Aliona Romaniuk 093 72 10 800, 050 335 53 01