Price monitoring of medicines

Pharmaceutical lawlessness or lack of state policy?

 

The current situation at the market of pharmaceutical products in Ukraine can be called no doubt lawlessness. It doesn’t even go about state price controls of medicines. Complete anarchy, corruption transactions, fraud, forgery are the ordinary everyday routine in the field of public relations.

 

Ukrainian Association of Retired Persons has been monitoring prices Ukrainian in pharmacies for many years including Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zhytomyr, Zaporizhzhya, Kryvy Rig, Mykolayiv and Khmelnytskiy. It should be noted that we addressed the authorities with appeal to establish state control over prices for medicines. We have occasionally heard cheerful statements of the state officials regarding the establishment of strict control, but nothing has changed up to this time.

 

It is impossible to establish any regularity in dynamic pricing, because it is hard to explain these paradoxes with regard to the price changes of the same drugs. These changes happen to be not within a year or month, but within one day, including Kyiv pharmacies. Here are a few examples.

 

 

Medicine

 

Price, UAH

 

Pharmacy

 

City

Heart drops Tricardin, 50 ml

12.04

City at Bazhan Ave.

Kyiv

Heart drops Tricardin, 50 ml

12.63

Inteleks

at Pestel Str.

Kyiv

Heart drops Tricardin, 50 ml

13.05

Pharmacy of hormonal drugs at Lypkivsky Str.

Kyiv

 

Heart drops Tricardin, 50 ml

 

14.05

Vita Lux at
Malynovsky Str.

Kyiv

 

Nitroxoline, 50 tablets

 

24.69

 

Zdorova simya at

Bazhan Ave.

Kyiv

 

Nitroxoline, 50 tablets

 

40.42

Inteleks at
Serafimovych Str.

Kyiv

 

Nitroxoline, 50 tablets

 

41.87

Inteleks at
Pestel Str.

Kyiv

 

Nitroxoline, 50 tablets

 

47.50

Vita-Lux at
Malynovsky Str.

 

Kyiv

 

Nitroxoline, 50 tablets

 

51.40

 

Pharmacy of mother and child at
Chygryna Str.

 

Mykolayiv

 

Nitroxoline, 50 tablets

 

47.70

Plus Pharmacy No.1at
Admyralska Str.

 

Mykolayiv

Nitroxoline, 50 tablets

 

44.90

Plus Pharmacy No. 2 at Krylov Str.

Mykolayiv

 

Nitroxoline, 50 tablets

 

88.82

Pharm – Expert at
Grushevsky Str.

Brovary, Kyiv region

 

Note: these drugs are not from different manufacturers. So producer prices should not differ so much at the pharmacies.

 

The same pharmacy Vita Lux at Malynovsky Street in Kyiv offers the same Nitroxoline pills: they costed 45 UAH a week ago, now you’ve been offered to pay 2 hryvnyas more for them without any explanation. And this happens after the statement of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov that the unreasonable increase in medicine prices will be strictly punished ...

 

It seems that the situation in manufacturing, procurement and import of drugs bounded out of control. And the allusion of various professionals and everyday people in the pharmacy, that the reason of all problems is a global crisis, would probably represent only one part of truth. To assess the whole truth there should be provided deep analysis of the processes taking place at the pharmaceutical market.

 

Analysis requires continuous monitoring and control by the publicity. That's when the real picture emerges and causes anarchy in the field of pharmaceutical and health care system, where the reforms supposedly introduced, but one cannot see the results. 

 

In this respect it is very interesting and useful to know the opinion of unbiased professionals.

 

Mr. Bakalyuk M.D, professor of the medical center of Ternopil National Economic University and Candidate of Economics Mr. Davydovych, associate professor of the same university portray an objective picture of the pharmaceutical market in our country in their article Ukraine: health perils and risks of the nation, ways of cooperation with countries of European Community. 

 

Of course, the medicine cannot be separated from the entire political and economic crisis in the country, but is not quite correct to refer only to lack of funds, as the point is not only financing of the stated branch. Smarter use of these funds is more necessary! We’ll take for example, the case of procurement of drugs. The director of the State Pharmacological Center, Executive Director of the Association of Pharmacists of Ukraine Mr. Chumak indicates that about 15 thousand drugs are registered by brand name (generics) in Ukraine, and those having the parent active substance (brands) are slightly more than 2250, whereby the use instructions are alike. But according to WHO experts, the treatment of diseases of internal organs needs only about 200 medicines in terms of integrity of the body. And what about existing anarchy in this case at the level of the Ministry of Healthcare?

 

We refer the persons concerned to the information of CRD and Court of Auditors: "Budget costs were spent by the officials of the Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine on the drugs for public hospitals. These medicines were provided by “their” firms with the prices exceeding the analogous drugs at the market at 587% (!). The possibility of tender participation of other firms was excluded”. The results of inspections showed multi loss of budget and its irrational usage (2000 Newspaper dated 04.02.2005, block B). And what comes at the end? One of the officials of the Ministry of Healthcare was fined at 587 (!) UAH with the view to the decision of Pechersk District Court. We should note also that the budget costs were spent on the mass purchase of expensive equipment, which was then passed to private individuals.

 

Due to the lack of budget costs people cannot hope to recover the value of really highly efficient medicines, which does not exceed 2.7% at present, while the figure makes up 70% abroad. Henceforth the loss of hope for the possibility to be cured by traditional methods is observed as the growth of interest in cheaper alternative medicine. This niche was immediately filled by the great number of "psychics and healers of local and international classes", disposing of licenses of the Ministry of Healthcare and providing "magic, correction of karma or aura" and able to "recharge water or shampoos" or even curing all the diseases including heart diseases, tumors and schizophrenia. The interest of the audience is aroused by generously paid advertising in print media or radio, and it seems that medicine is gradually returning to the Stone Age.

 

Add to this the incorrect advertising of medicines and treatments on TV and radio like Solpadein, Stop-Starin, Laminarin, Lamidan, Ereks and Fibramin and Nebulizer (treatment of arterial hypertension, atherosclerosis, stenocardia and arrhythmia without medication device) as well as the anarchy of selling drugs in pharmacies.

 

Therefore, we can say that the statement by professor Polishchuk remains urgent: "Our medicine is like a monster ..." and Mr. Gluzman, the executive secretary of the Association of Psychiatrists of Ukraine, calls directly the Ministry of Healthcare and the Ministry of Social Policy to be "subversive ministries" and by the reason that there work “sheer scoundrels”. “On the contrary, quite qualified professionals are engaged there at the average level, but they’re forced to implement completely idiotic instructions like medical examination of the population”.

 

However, there is a simple civilized source of substantial increase of allocations for health care offered by prof. Golyachenko: restoration of  the state monopoly for the production and sales of alcohol and tobacco, control over entrepreneurs and private businessmen of the pharmaceutical branch, opening of the state pharmacies as competitors to private ones, exertion of influence on the pricing of pharmaceutical remedies, introduction of 3% tax for property and wealth (and not 0.01% planned by the new tax code. It’s just the same as to offer a retiree to buy Maybach with a discount!)

 

It is interesting that there are no official answer to the publication of Chumak, Gluzman, Golyachenko, Bakalyuk and Davydovych, and the Ministry of Healthcare continues churning permits for realization of thousands of new generics, while the pharmacies mark up the prices with impunity, citing thereby the high prices of manufacturers. 

 

Unfortunately, we have no idea how exactly, systematically and resolutely the state is going to establish the order at the pharmaceutical market without any ostentation or superficiality. And if the state policy is missing, wide opportunities for abuse and corruption are opened.

 

Recently the round table talk took place at the TV, which adduced very disturbing information: about 70% of sold drugs in Ukraine do not meet the requirements of the relevant drug fully or only partially or even are fakes.

 

That is why this sphere requires constant monitoring provided by both professionals and public, like the price monitoring for medicines.

 

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