KYIV. On February 7, 2019 patients and doctors came to the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center to protect the medical reform and personally Dr Ulana Suprun, the acting Health Minister. The main requirement is to appoint Ulana Suprun to the position of the Minister of Health!
This was announced at the press-briefing by desperate mothers who handcuffed themselves. Their children may be left without treatment because of absurd criminal proceedings related to Anakinra, a costly drug for treatment of primary immunodeficiency.
41 patients’ organizations released an open letter to Julia Tymoshenko calling her not to voice unverified information about international pharmaceutical procurement and not to discredit the reform so important for all patients.
Dear Yulia Volodymyrivna, yesterday, at the Coordination Board meeting you disseminated false information about government procurement of medicines through the international organizations.
Inna Boiko is elected as the Executive Director of the CF «Patients of Ukraine». This decision was made by the members of the Foundation at the annual meeting.
The General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine made a decision on closing the criminal case filed against the Charitable Foundation “Patients of Ukraine”. The letter from the GPO indicates that the criminal case in relation to CF “Patients of Ukraine” was terminated on November 14, 2017 “owing to the absence of elements of a crime in its actions”.“From the very beginning we kept saying that we were not afraid of any inspections as we had nothing to hide, comments Inna Boiko, Acting Director of the Foundation, – It’s a great pity that we had to waste almost six months to prove our point. It was six months of nerves and efforts of all our colleagues, who had to look through the files of three years back and attend court trials”. Interestingly, that the GPO letter also specifies the reason for filing the criminal case, in particular: “…entry in the Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations based on information from mass media about financial crime”. Unfortunately, it is equally disappointing that the real crimes at the prompting of journalists investigators are not always under inquiry. It is to be recalled that the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine filed a criminal case against CF “Patients of Ukraine” for “procurement of medicines at inflated prices” and “embezzlement in relation to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in especially large amounts”. That said, the CF “Patients of Ukraine” never procured medicines and was never involved in this activity, while the Global Fund with its regular external auditing of the targeted use of resources by the CF “Patients of Ukraine” never found any violations. In October 2017 the investigation moved into its active phase, when the investigators from the General Police Directorate of Ukraine received access to the files of the Foundation with the right to suppress all documents for the whole post-Maidan period of 2014-2017. In January 2018 the Foundation was under extraordinary tax inspection assigned by the Peshersk court. It emerged that the investigation continued after the case had been closed by the GPO in November 2017, which was illegal. Once the prosecutor closes the case, further investigation is terminated in compliance with the law. At the same time the Tax Inspection Service did not reveal any violations of the law in the work of the CF “Patients of Ukraine” and confirmed the targeted use of the grant resources, however the fact of this tax inspection taking place after the case was closed is illegal.
The investigator of the Main Investigations Directorate of the National Police of Ukraine is currently reviewing and copying the documents of the Charitable Foundation “Patients of Ukraine”. This is the first seizure of the documents from the NGO, a member of the community “Reanimation Package of Reforms” Senior investigator for especially important cases of the National Police Main Investigations Directorate Nykytyuk S.S. and the National Police investigator Roman Onyshchenko came to seize the documents. They could not explain the legal merit of the claim and were not familiar with the materials and content of the criminal case in detail. “I am an executor of a particular investigative action, which is the seizure of documents. The details are known to the chief of the investigation team”, Onyshchenko explained. According to him, the investigation team for this case consists of three members. Senior investigator Nykytyuk, who received the court order for the seizure of documents, refused the comments and only reported that the case is filed by the General Prosecutor’s Office and that all questions should be addressed to them. The documents are seized according to the Pechersk Court ruling as part of the criminal case on “procurement of medicines for unreasonably high prices” and “embezzlement of money of the international organization “The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria” in especially big amount”. “For 6 years of its work the CF “Patients of Ukraine” never procured any medicines, not a single pack, not for any project. The investigators cannot explain what the source of this information is. The court ruling does not explain it either. We cannot understand, which arguments were used by the investigators to persuade the judge to issue the permission for this seizure. The seized documents do not contain information on the medicine procurement!”. The law enforcement authorities want to seize all financial documents of the CF “Patients of Ukraine” for the post-Maidan period. “Court ruling received by prosecutors and investigators does not contain any fact or specific period that would be of interest to the law enforcement officers. This indicates that there were no grounds for prosecuting the case, which is a ‘designer case’ with the aim of obtaining financial documents of the organization and finding something there after that”, NGO staff considers. “We regard this as a lever of pressure, as an attempt to block our activities because the Global Fund has no questions to us. We have been working together for many years and every year they extend this cooperation”, states Olga Stefanyshyna, the Executive Director of the CF “Patients of Ukraine”. It is noteworthy that the Global Fund regularly attracts external auditors to confirm the target use of the funds by the CF “Patients of Ukraine”. Activists also associate these actions of the law enforcement officers with the fact that these organizations were engaged in promoting the reform of public procurement of medicines and in delegating this function to the international organizations. This reform, according to the estimates of the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine and anti-corruption organizations, annually saves for Ukraine up to 40% of the state budget for procurement of the medicines. It is worth mentioning that 588 organizations receive funding from the Global Fund in Ukraine, including 354 health facilities (AIDS centers, tuberculosis dispensaries), 124 correctional institutions and 100 NGOs Slidchi 2 (2)image1 (6)image2 (4)NikitukSlidchi 2 (1) For information: The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was established by the United Nations in January 2002 to assist in funding the national AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programs in countries with a low level of own resources. Contact person Olha Pryshko firstname.lastname@example.org +380959346241
The next drop in the cup of patience of the activists and public expecting the health reform overrun into the action in front of the Verkhovna Rada. Representatives of the public organizations, patients community and health workers got together in Grushevsky street to motivate the MPs to put bills 6327 and 6604 to vote and support them.