In Ukraine every 11th Ukrainian is infected with hepatitis C. For decades this disease condemned hundreds of thousands of patients to a painful and slow death. To cure this terrible disease people are forced to sell out all their property because the necessary medicines are too expensive for the average Ukrainian.
“Today we found out that UNDP announced a tender for procurement of medicines for patients with chronic viral hepatitis. This means that thousands of Ukrainians with hepatitis C have a chance to treat a terrible disease and live a full life. We hope that the price at which UNDP will procure innovative medicine will not be higher than the special price for Ukraine, at which the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine already procures the medicine for Global Fund grant funds,” – says Olga Stefanyshyna, Executive director of the Charitable Foundation “Patients of Ukraine”.
“As far back as 4 years ago no one even dreamt about free treatment of hepatitis C. Not to say about the most innovative one, that is being used for treatment in Europe now. Back then, in 2012 we thought that allocation of public funds and the availability of the national treatment program – is the greatest goal that can be achieved,” – added Olga.
In 2013, hundreds of patients gathered in front of the Cabinet of Ministers building to hold an action “Condemned”. It was a critical step made by CF “Patients of Ukraine” with a main goal – to ensure accessible treatment to patients with hepatitis C. Then for the first time in Ukraine the Government developed and adopted “The National Targeted Social Program for Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis” and the Ministry of Health procured pegylated interferons at the expense of public funds. That step was a real breakthrough in eliminating hepatitis epidemic in Ukraine. However, the lives of the majority of Ukrainians infected with this virus remained under the threat: pegylated interferons could treat no more than 50% of patients.
In 2013 the means to treat hepatitis C was invented – drug Sofosbuvir. In addition to the fact that the needed medication hasn’t been registered in Ukraine, the exorbitant prices for the new drug ruined all hopes.
Today we are pleased to inform that due to joint efforts of patients and partner organizations in Ukraine in 2015 was registered an innovative drug for treatment of hepatitis C – Sofosbuvir: Sovaldi produced by Gilead and Egyptian generic Grateziano manufactured by European Egyptian Pharmaceutical Industries. Millions of Ukrainians hope to receive this medication and finally win the struggle with a terrible virus. Moreover, due to pressure of patient and public organizations, as well as the proactive work of the Ministry of Health, the medicine was included to the list of medications to be procured at the expense of the State Budget of Ukraine 2015 with the assistance of specialized international agencies. The tender was announced for the procurement of 6110 vials of Sofosbuvir.
Behind this success is an indomitable desire to live, support of patients and partner community, that took part in protest actions and initiated multi-stage negotiations with representatives of the Ministry of Health, manufacturing companies and independent experts.