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Access to medicines

Conflict in Ukraine leads to disruption to HIV and TB treatment

People in Ukraine infected with HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis (TB) have faced interrupted treatment, especially in regions controlled by armed groups, says a UN report[1] on the protracted conflict.

The country faces a growing HIV/AIDS epidemic and a high burden of multi-drug resistant TB.

The report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein highlights that medicines have been relocated from Luhansk to Severodonetsk “from where [they are] distributed to towns controlled by Ukrainian authorities”.

The report says that antiretroviral treatment (ART) has not been delivered to prisons in territory controlled by the Donetsk People’s Republic. It also flags its concerns that in the two regions there is a critical deficit of children’s ART formulas and tests for viral load, including for pregnant women.

“This poses a serious risk for life and health of people living with HIV/AIDS and those infected with TB,” the report adds.

The report also documents delays by the Ukrainian government in launching tenders for the purchase of ART, and other drugs. “Some TB treatments and vaccines have not been available since the end of spring 2014.”

The tenders, normally announced in April each year, were opened in August 2014, and only three tenders for ART were accepted, it says. The remaining 20 were “denied due to high prices”. The tenders were re-opened and considered in September 2014.

The devaluation of the national currency has also impeded Ukraine’s ministry of health from purchasing sufficient amounts of the required medicines. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20066828

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