Living amidst one of the fastest growing HIV epidemics in Europe, with among the highest rates of both HIV and TB, one in eight people living with HIV in Ukraine also has tuberculosis and one in eight living with HIV dies, according to a report from, the country’s Anti-corruption Action Centre, and All Ukrainian Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS.
Ukraine is a middle-income country with the right to free medical care built into the constitution, yet the government provides only 43 percent of the antiretroviral medicine needed to treat those with HIV, and does not manage to provide treatment for all TB patients, either. Those who do receive treatment experience interruptions due to delays in delivery of medicines. Of everyone with HIV who died in the first half of the year, only 41 percent were receiving treatment, and just a little more than 5 percent of them had received continuous treatment in the last year of their lives. And yet in 2013 Ukraine government agencies spent 87 percent of the budget allocated for antiretroviral and anti-TB medicines. One problem? The government was paying prices for medicines that were as much as 300 percent higher than the prices paid by the All Ukrainian Network of PLWH.
Who Makes Money on Epidemics of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis in Ukraine looks at how that works, with an investigation of how drug procurement processes benefit a select few companies, including ones that ostensibly compete against each other, and have the same owner. The report is part of a project called “Through transparent and efficient system of public procurement to save the lives of seriously ill Ukrainians,” and makes recommendations to reform the national system, as well as broader recommendations for international actions. Those include the creation of a public register of pharmaceutical procurement companies’ “beneficial owners,” to avert the scam of companies competing against themselves, including greater civil society oversight into drug procurement, and ensuring greater transparency in the process.