New player in pharmaceutical market of Ukraine
On January 31-st the first open meeting of UCAB — a specialized board of patients for lobbying their interests in front of pharmaceutical companies — took place. UCAB unites patients living with most socially dangerous diseases in Ukraine: people living with HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis in order to protect their rights aiming the pharmaceutical business and the government. Lives of each UCAB member depend on the quality, access to and effectiveness of treatment they get. That is why UCAB is to become influential part on pharmaceutical market of Ukraine.
Patients, representatives of non-governmental organizations, international funds, leading pharmaceutical companies met at the round table «The dialog begins: patients and pharma». Representatives of the Ministry of Health, Ukrainian AIDS Center, State pharmacological Center were invited to the meeting as well. Unfortunately, governmental officials ignored the invitation as usually.
«When the board of patients, representing powerful NGOs, starts functioning, the government and pharmaceutical business should understand, that the patient becomes an equal part of relations between pharmaceutical industry and the government, — said Dmytro Sherembey, the Head of UCAB. — From now on the market regulation will be more public and transparent, as patients, like no other, have personal interest in the high quality expertise and market development. Because their own lives depend on it.»
300 mln. Hryvna are provided by the State budget in 2011 to overcome HIV/AIDS and TB epidemics in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the majority of these funds are applied ineffectively. «Ukrainian budget provides not more than 0 Hryvna to fight hepatitis next year. And it happens in the country, where the number of people living with chronic hepatitis is more than 270 thousands, according to «The L. Hromashevsky Institute of epidemiology and infectious diseases », — said Olha Havrylova, the deputy Head of UCAB, the Head of «Stop Hepatitis» NGO. That is why the UCAB priority in its relations with the government is focused on the medical products procurement, namely: price and quality control, as well as the level of funding provided. UCAB goal in its relations with pharmaceutical companies is focused on access to high quality treatment in Ukraine, influencing existing expertise, participation of patients in clinical trials.
«12 Ukrainians die from AIDS and 22 from TB everyday — says Volodymyr Zhovtyak, the Head of Coordination Council of the Network of PLWH. The majority of these people could be alive now thanks to high quality and timely treatment. Our organization has rich experience in the sphere of patients’ rights protection. We initiated UCAB establishment in order to make a patient to be powerful force, whose rights are followed within Ukrainian medical market».
Similar organization of patients — European Community Advisory Board (ECAB) — exists in Europe for many years already. ECAB is today significantly influencing new drugs registration in European market, controls their availability and pricing. According to Konstantin Lezhentsev, ECAB member since 2003: «It’s due to ECAB Ukraine is included into the „Abbot price reduction strategy“ list of countries with. In 2006 during an open meeting between pharmaceutical companies and ECAB members it also became possible to lower the price for Tenofovir for Ukraine through negotiations with production company in London.»
«We hope, that UCAB will become as powerful in Ukrainian medical market, as ECAB is in European — says Wim Vandevelde, ECAB Head. — We managed to make both pharmaceutical companies and governmental bodies start listening to us. And I believe such partnership is possible in Ukraine.»
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