YEREVAN, October 9. / ARKA /. Armenia’s market of medicines is abundant in low-quality cancer treating medicines, Varta Babalyan, the director of the Armenian office of pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche, told a news conference today.
According to her, the emergence of low-quality medicines should be blamed on amendments made to a government decision on the import of drugs, which allow any individual with distributor right to import drugs to Armenia.
She said despite stringent storage and transportation requirements, the passage of the amendment has become a hindrance to effective control over the imported drugs, stimulating at the same time the inflow of poor quality and dubious drugs.
Asked about how to tell cheap and low quality drugs from original products, she said low quality medicines may be cheaper tens of thousands drams. She stressed that the cost of original drugs in Armenia can not be cheap, as the price of cancer medicines are high everywhere.
She said also the pricing of these drugs is greatly affected by the value added tax, which is 20%.
The deputy director of the National Cancer Center Gagik Bazikyan said some of their patients bring imported medications themselves.
"In such cases, we sign an agreement with the patient that the hospital bears no responsibility for their effectiveness ", he said.
On October 5 Armenia’s State Commission for Protection of Economic Competition (SCPEC) unveiled the findings of an extensive study which revealed 1.5 billion drams embezzlement in the procurement of medicines for state-run hospitals and clinics. SCPEC has instituted administrative proceedings against the companies Natalie Pharm, Viola, Anikofarm, Eurofarm, Rusfarm, Egdani, Magee El, Camelli, a private entrepreneur Hrant Gevorgyan, and against 29 public health facilities in Yerevan and outside it. Natalie Pharm was fined 50 million drams for the abuse of a dominant position on the market of drugs.
Late last month President Serzh Sargsyan berated the government for widespread bribery and nepotism in state procurements administered by various Armenian ministries and other government bodies. The president singled out “kickbacks paid at the expense of the state budget” to officials handling procurement tenders. He instructed state prosecutors and the National Security Service to investigate the reported abuses and “go after people who take kickbacks and have their cousins win tenders with twice the prices” offered by other potential suppliers. He stressed that the law-enforcement bodies must start the crackdown from high-level officials. -0-