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Head doctors are obliged to disclose information about the inventory balance of medicines in their hospitals

Today, everyone talks about the lack or insufficient amount of medicines in hospitals. The Ministry of Health of Ukraine hears accusations of late purchase of medicines, shortage of medications, and lack of control over their use. But is it right to blame everything on the Ministry of Health exclusively?

Why no one talks about the drugs that are purchased by means of local budgets. After all, every hospital, though in a small amount, receives medicines purchased in the framework of local health programs’ implementation.

I decided to write this article when I heard of a person who urgently needed medicines. This person’s life depended on this, and every day, even hour, counted. The patient was told in a local hospital that the necessary drugs were not available, since there had been no supplies from Kyiv yet. In pharmacies these medicines were not available either.

I appealed to the Ministry of Health immediately. They made a check there, and it turned out that not all the medicines are missing in the region in which the patient lives. One of the necessary medicines has already been delivered, and the rest should be delivered within 1-2 weeks. In addition, the Ministry of Health assured that while the rest of the drugs are being delivered, the required amount for the patient will be allocated from the reserve. The only thing required was a request from the regional Department of Health.

However, after the appeal to the local Department, it turned out that all the necessary drugs are available, because they are purchased by means of the local budget.

Then a fair question arises: why did the sick person was refused to get them? Is the health and life of a man worthless? And if medicines are purchased, if they are available, why then this information is hidden from people?

The majority would accuse the Ministry of Health, saying that this issue is not regulated normatively. However, far from it – as of today it has been completely regulated, but it is not being implemented.

Thus, until recently, the Ministry of Health, by its order, obliged the heads of the territorial structural departments on health issues to ensure publishing and weekly updating of medicinal inventory balance in hospitals purchased with public funds (Order of the Ministry of Health No. 509 dated 02.06.2016 “On the implementation of measures aimed at the control of use of medicines and medical products purchased for budgetary funds”); but the information about medicines purchased at the expense of the local budget remained unavailable  for people.

However, the Ministry of Health has already developed and issued a new order (Order of the Ministry of Health dated 26.04.2017 No. 459, registered in the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine on July 11, 2017 № 841/30709 “On approval of the procedure for placing on information stands in public health institutions the information on the availability of medicines, consumables, medical products and food products for special dietary consumption received at the expense of state and local budgets, charitable activities, and humanitarian aid”), which obliges heads of territorial structural divisions on health issues to ensure control over the placement and weekly updating on information stands in hospitals of the information on the availability of medicines, consumables, medical products and food for special dietary consumption received for at the expense of state and local budgets, charitable activities and humanitarian aid.

That is, the information on the inventory balance of all medicines that are in hospitals must be published.

According to this order, such an information stand should be placed inside at the exit from medical institutions in the places of free access of patients (including people with disabilities) and in each department where stationary patients are on treatment.

An employee of a relevant health care institution is in charge of placing and updating the information weekly.

As you can see, the necessary regulatory framework has been developed and approved. The heads of territorial structural units on health issues are aware of the order and are obliged to ensure its implementation. However, the order of the Ministry of Health is not being implemented. Or, perhaps, it is implemented only in some hospitals.

Therefore, I appeal to the heads of local health structural units and to the heads of all medical institutions: ensure fulfillment of the Ministry of Health’s order, make information about medicines in your hospitals public!

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