New procedure for drug provision in Armenia: restriction of the right to health or improvement of the sector?
07.03.2018
12:00
At the discussion on “New procedure for drug provision in Armenia: restriction of the right to health or improvement of the sector?” hosted by the Media Center on March 7, Anahit Zakharyan, chief child hematologist of the RA MoH, Associate Professor at the Chair of Hematology, YSMU, physician-hematologist at the Hematology Center after R. H.

Yolyan, expressed an opinion that the decree on the new procedure for drug provision aimed to keep the patient closer to the doctor, reduce self-treatment and control the pharmacological market, but it was too early to introduce it into our society.

Note that yesterday the RA Government decided to temporarily suspend the new procedure for drug provision. Citizens can buy without prescription any drug, except for psychotropic and antiviral substances and antibiotics.

At the Government session, it was decided to partially suspend the decree on sale of drugs by prescription till October 1, 2018 for hormones and till July 1, 2018 – for injection drugs. Note that according to the previous Government decree, these drug substances were also sold by prescription from March 1.

"The shift to prescription is welcome, but it is ineffective to do so on the spot by one shot and one decree; that’s why it gave rise to quite a widespread discontent among both the population and the doctors as the doctor wants to prescribe a drug to the patient he/she needs at that very moment but faces the obstacle of the must to have the new prescription form. Naturally, patients express discontent as they face unnecessary bureaucracy," Zakharyan says.

According to her, there are issues now, but every issue can be resolved. "The issue can be resolved by gradual steps; first of all, the mentality of the population should be changed so that they understand that it is inadmissible to practice self-treatment if they face a health problem.”

Violeta Zopunyan, head of the Center for Rights Development NGO, noted that the decree was adopted back in 2017 and argued that there was plenty of time for discussions but no public discussions were held.

"Before adopting such decrees and amendments, it’s a must that they should be voted for by relevant specialists. The opinion-recommendation of the Ministry of Justice in the yesterday's draft also related to the fact that here we need preliminary assessment. From the legislative viewpoint, we have no problem in terms of technology," Zopunyan says.

According to her, first of all it was necessary to understand the problems of citizens, especially vulnerable groups, especially given that the problems of people with chronic diseases also came forth.

"We have a Law on Drugs that addresses all the issues on drug prescription and registration and also provides in separate legal acts the entire drug registration procedure. In fact, we have drugs the registration of which in itself poses the requirement that they may be provided exclusively by prescription and there is nothing new about this. Extending the list of drugs to be provided by prescription is quite a different matter. As for legal violations, there are no such violations as such," Zopunyan added.

Lilit Arakelyan, Media Center Project Editor/Coordinator

To contact the author, please email: Lilitarakelyan@pjc.am

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