Health Ministry to Buy Low Quality, Expensive Medicine for Children

Eli Lilly

YEREVAN (Arka)—Silva Barsegyan, the regional manager of the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company, warned today that the Armenian health ministry is about to buy a large batch of poor quality and expensive insulin for children.

Speaking to journalists, she said on June 18 Eli Lilly received a written notification from the health ministry saying it wanted to buy insulin for children directly from the manufacturer and asked the company to submit proposals.

She said although she had only one day, she got in touch with the financial CEO of the company and negotiated a reasonable price. However, soon she learned that the ministry was negotiating with the French company Sanofi-Aventis, which proposed a price significantly higher than that of Eli Lilly.

To specify, she said Eli Lilly offers a 10-milliliter vial of high quality insulin for 2,103 drams ($5.13), while Sanofi-Aventis asks for 3,267 drams ($7.97) for a 10-milliliter vial of semi-synthetic insulin.

“The government intends to purchase 126,000 vials of insulin mixture of short-term and medium-term effect, 420,000 vials of short-term effect insulin, and 858,000 vials of medium-term effect insulin. As a result, if these drugs are bought from the French company, the government will overpay by about 251.7 million drams ($614,180) and bring in much lower quality insulin. It is a violation of the interests of the state “, she said.

Barsegyan said that if the insulin were bought from Eli Lilly the saved amount would be enough to provide 300 insulin-dependent children with analogue pen-syringes, not with vials.

Barsegyan stressed that when procuring drugs the government needs to take into account three basic qualities that characterize the drug: safety, efficiency and availability.

“But in Armenia when making procurements these rules are not observed due to a non-professional approach,” she said.

She added that the situation is similar regarding the purchase of anti-diabetic pills from Indian company Perdaman, for which the ministry of health is going to spend about 390 million drams ($951,650) in the second half of the year, while a correct calculation of costs shows that as little as 50 million drams ($122,006) would be enough. She stressed that the drugs from the Indian company were not even registered in India itself.

Arka asked the ministry of health for comments, but was told that explanations will be provided later.

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8 Comments

  1. Hay said:

    I don’t understand, a company executive is complaining that they didn’t get a government tender contract, and Asbarez publishes it as news? What I see is a business woman badmouthing another company’s product because they didn’t get the deal. “But we offer a better product at a lower price” sounds like something my local Target would say. This is ridiculously stupid. Since when are private business’ words anything other than self-serving half-truths and exaggerations?

    • Kirk said:

      She might be right or she might be wrong.
      However, until the Ministry of Health does not provide any serious explanation, she is right.

  2. edward demian said:

    Drug companies are notorious for bribery and under the table dealings. Is it not obvious that some official is taking bribes ?

    • Hay said:

      And why exactly should I take another drug company’s word as truth then?

  3. Mariam Manoukian said:

    For once Armenian Health Ministry has done the right thing, buying the better insulin for children. Eli Lilly does not make insulins that would sustain normal life in children with Type 1 diabetes and their representative should learn that sooner or later. They make good quality insulins for adults, pumps and partially but not completely for children. I wish that Asbarez checks their stories before publishing such wrongfully criticizing stories. I think they owe an apology to MOH of RA.

  4. Health Without Wealth said:

    This is barbaric. There is no way to justify these actions when there are plenty of quality meds available for cheap. We need to help spread these meds. Visit https://www.facebook.com/HealthWoWealth for more information and to join our cause! Help make horrific events like these a part of the past.

  5. GB said:

    …if it is low quality and an expensive medication, then there must be some kinds of fraudulent activities within ministry of health, oligarchy control employees!!! Armenians in Armenia are excellent in these kinds of “beezeeneses”!!

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