The bill No. 1076 «On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine ‘On Public Procurement’ and to Some Other Legislative Acts on Improving Public Procurement» has been put to vote today, which abolishes the possibility to procure medicines through the international organizations. The bill was posted on the website only one day before the voting, depriving the public of the opportunity to make comments and remarks.
«If the bill is passed as such, this will threaten the health and life of hundreds of seriously ill Ukrainians, including children, because it deprives Ukrainians of the access to life-saving medicines and vaccines,» — said Inna Ivanenko, Executive Director of CF «Patients of Ukraine».
Health care procurement reform began in 2015, following the adoption of the Law «On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine (on Providing Timely Access of Patients to Essential Medicines and Medical Products by Public Procurement through the Specialized Procurement Organizations)». At that time, the function of centralized procurement of medicines, medical devices and vaccines was taken from the MOH and delegated to the specialized international organizations such as UNDP, UNICEF, Crown Agents, etc.
During 5 years since then corruption has been removed from procurement of essential medicines, vaccines and medical products. Without corruption component in the procurement activities the international organizations save up to 40% of the state budget funds, which allows procuring more medicines (by 68%!) and save more lives.
Due to procurement through the international organizations, the Ukrainian patients not only have better medicine supplies, but also receive access to exclusive treatment never procured by the Ministry of Health.
If the MOH is deprived of the opportunity to use the mechanism of international procurement, the patients will be deprived of the opportunity to have treatment. Currently, the national procurement procedures don’t have and can’t have the capacity to conduct international bidding, to combine lots from several countries and to conclude direct long-term contracts with manufacturers due to multi-year planning.
In addition to vaccines and serums that cannot be procured through the national bidding as effectively as through the international organizations, the Ukrainian patients run the risk of being deprived of the following medicines:
Cosmegen is a medicine first purchased by the United Nations Development Program and authorized in Ukraine under the simplified procedure, because its manufacturer has never entered the Ukrainian market.
Oncaspar is a medicine with extremely short shelf life and requires special procurement and delivery procedures. It is used for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia untreatable by the first-line therapy;
Erwinase is a medicine for the first procured in 2019. It requires simplified authorization procedure and is procured in extremely small quantities helping children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia untreatable by the first-line and second-line therapy.
Radiopharmaceuticals with critically short shelf life (15-20 days) and a very complicated delivery procedure .
Swan Ganz catheters used in cardiac surgery;
The stents available now in Ukraine due to procurement through the international organizations. They meet 100 percent of the urgent needs.
Currently the state provides free stenting for all ST-segment elevation patients in need of urgent help. A supply breakthrough occurred in 2016, when the international organizations were able to procure three times more stents in 2016 at the same price as the Health Ministry of Ukraine had done before initiation of the procurement through the international organizations. The price of high quality stents has been reduced due to very high global competition, which will become limited if procurement is performed under the current procedures in Ukraine.
Currently 10 types of vaccines for 10 dangerous diseases that children and adults should receive according to the immunization schedule are available in all regions of Ukraine. Such indicators are recorded for the first time in recent years. Vaccines for Ukraine are procured by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). These are only top quality and effective QA vaccines long and widely used in the world. In addition, Ukraine can now place orders and plan to procure vaccines three years in advance, which is essential as the vaccine production cycle is long-lasting. Ukraine may lose this opportunity because of repealing the rule that allows the MoH Ukraine to attract the international organizations to the procurement activities.
Without the possibility of procurement through the international organizations, these essential medicines will be lost to us forever, as the national procurer SE «Medical Procurement» has no legal capacity to use such procurement mechanisms as were employed by the international organizations. Therefore, along with development and establishment of the national agency, it is imperative to retain the opportunity for the Health Ministry to procure medicines, vaccines and medical products through the specialized international organizations.We demand the Speaker and MPs to hear the voice of the patients and prevent the loss of such a successful anti-corruption instrument that saves twice as many human lives.