Excise taxes will save millions of Ukrainians

Excise taxes will save millions of Ukrainians

Patient and public organizations have offered Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to raise the excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol and use a part of these funds for vital and life-saving medicines.

“We found a way to cover the budget deficit to purchase drugs, – says Dmytro Sherembey, Chairman of the Board of Patients of Ukraine (UCAB) Charitable foundation.” – We offer MPs to raise excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol, and use part these funds to save millions of Ukrainians that need medicines. For the first time we, as patients, do not ask or require funding, today we offer the solution».

It should be noted that such methods of filling the budget for medicine are already practiced in some developing countries, and had proved to be effective. These include Thailand, Malaysia, Latin America, Greece and Sweden.
In order to attract the MPs attention and motivate them to carry out these laws to be voted in Verkhovna Rada, more than 100 activists and patients lied down on the square in front of the Parliament. This flash mob symbolized that by ignoring this law, each of the deputies will go to work every day stepping on the corpses of Ukrainians. After all, 1607 people die every day in Ukraine due to the lack of vital medicines.

«We calculated that the increase in excise duty on alcohol and tobacco products will lead to the fact that one bottle of vodka will cost 4 UAH more, one pack of cigarettes will be worth 1.70 UAH more, a bottle of beer will increase it cost by 60 cents, and strong wine will be 3 UAH more expensive, – declares Olexander Ponomarenko, economist, one the draft law’s authors. — Our proposition to raise excise taxes will lead to increase in prices for alcoholic beverages by 10% and 20% in the tobacco. It seems to us, that this not such an significant increase. However, according to our estimates, it will attract an additional budget of 5 billion. We propose government to redistribute 3,1 billion of that sum to the specially created Development of the Medicine Fund and use it to cover the budget deficit for the purchase of drugs. 750 mln. UAH we propose to transfer for the completion of Special Children’s Hospital OKHMADYT», – he adds.

The Ministry of Health budget lacks exactly 3,1 billion UAH for purchasing drugs for patients.

“The Ministry of Health of Ukraine fully supports the initiative of patients’ organizations to raise additional funds for Ukrainian health care system by increasing the excise taxes on tobacco products, weak and strong alcohol. My position as a citizen and as a leader of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine remains the same: the products that destroy health, without a doubt, should be imposed with additional taxes. Therefore, I, personally, will defend the registered draft law in Government as one that helps in resolving the issues of the budget deficit for the drugs by using the alternative sources of income, – declared Oleg Musii, Minister of Health of Ukraine. According to the Minister, the funds from these fees should be directed precisely to the needs of Ukrainian healthcare system. He mentioned that in these hard times it will help in implementing the number of governmental programs, to ensure the stable operation of health care system and will save the lives of millions of patients.

“The government must understand that the huge gaps in the budget of the Ministry of Health mean lack of purchased insulin for diabetics, chemotherapy for cancer patients, antiretroviral therapy for AIDS patients, – says Volodymyr Zhovtyak, the head of All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV. – Budget cuts for the purchase of drugs is unacceptable, because it cuts lives”, – he adds. Hanna Hopko, Coordinator of the Smoke Free Ukraine Coalition states that, “Because of low excise taxes’ rates in Ukraine, that ruin people’s, budget loses equals billions. These funds could be used for curing the terminally ill patients”.

Initiative “Excise Taxes Save Lives!” has united almost all patient organizations in Ukraine. Already 30 patients’ organizations had signed a memorandum and the call to adopt the higher mentioned draft laws. The memorandum is open for signing.

[dt_quote type=”blockquote” font_size=”normal” animation=”none” background=”plain”]Information:
There are 28 programs envisaged by the State Budget of Ukraine for 2014, that are funded by the Ministry of Health. Their funding equals to 2.2 billion UAH, which is only 42% of the declared needs for medicines.
In case the draft laws will get adopted, the increase of the excise taxes rates is expected already from May 1, 2014.

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Contact persons:

Natalia Krasnenkova:
067 465 54 26

Olexandra Ustinova:
067 550 15 70

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