Medicine Shipments into Ukraine May Cease due to Suspension of Acting Minister of Health
Shipments of medicine into Ukraine may soon cease. This is due to the situation regarding suspended Acting Minister of Health, Uliana Suprun, whose signature is required for shipments and distribution to occur. Suprun was suspended from her duties in a controversial ruling by a Kyiv district court
5 Year old Hlib has a rare primary immunodeficiency disorder. His mother Olena says that his life depends on very expensive injections, which the boy must get often.
“We started getting help from the government in October of 2018. Before this, we would save up the money for treatment ourselves. I would ask for help from friends, on social media, and at charities. That’s how we saved up enough for his medicine,” mother of a sick child, Olena Pokhtel said.
Just one package of medicine costs around 900 euros. That’s enough for a single month. Under the government program “Affordable Medicines Program,” Olena received the medicine free of charge. That life-saving option may now be at risk, as the medicine may soon stop being shipped.
“I don’t even want to think about what may happen. I’m afraid that if there’s no medicine, then my child won’t survive. This medicine is like air to him. He needs it,” Pokhtel added.
Without the approval and signature of the Minister of Health or an acting minister, the shipment of not only lifesaving drugs and vaccines will be stopped, but those needing to go abroad for treatment will also be left waiting. Recently suspended acting Minister of Health Ulian Suprun wrote about this on her facebook page.
“Essential drugs under 33 public procurement programs are being prepared for delivery to the regions. These are measles vaccines, which are the only means to stop the outbreak of the disease. These are medicines for children with cancer and adults, people with diabetes, heart disease, hepatitis, drugs for those who need dialysis or antiretroviral therapy,” Suprun wrote.
According to her, medicine, worth around $23 million, are waiting in Health Ministry storage, but cannot be distributed.
“This is not just medication. This set of drugs is for complex diseases, such as HIV, AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis and hepatitis. These are drugs that you can’t just go and buy at the pharmacy, because only the state provides them,” Executive Director of the Patients of Ukraine Fund, Inna Ivanenko said.
On February 15, the Kyiv Court that suspended Suprun will consider a counterclaim of the Ministry of Justice. Representatives of Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers demand that Ulana Suprun is to be returned to her duties. On February 6, she was suspended from fulfilling these obligations. The main reasons were allegedly having dual citizenship, as well as the fact that she should not have performed her duties as acting Minister of Health for more than one month, even though she worked in this position for more than two years.