The December 11, 2003 Order # 1283-A of the Minister of Health established a commission to draw up an inventory at the Republican Center for Humanitarian Assistance. E. Ekmedjyan was appointed chairman of the commission. He is a member of the Armenian Association of Pharmacists. Another member of the commission, L. Isakhanyan, is the director of Levon and Lamara Pharmacy, Ltd. Not only are these men are representatives of the pharmaceutical network, but they are Artashes Bisharyan's schoolmates as well. The ministry selected as its experts people who export and trade in medicine and medical supplies.
On February 12, 2004 the Aravot daily published a piece of news-based on documents presented by Bisharyan himself-that refutes information regarding criminal proceedings instituted against him. Strange as it may sound, Bisharyan also presented a document from the Prosecutor's Office stating that no criminal charges had been brought against him.
Nevertheless, criminal proceedings were instituted against Health Ministry employee Artashes Bisharyan. Moreover, the deadline for the preliminary investigation was twice postponed. Under Artashes Bisharyan, medicine for the public health service was purchased from his own company, and medicine provided as humanitarian aid was intentionally left to expire, in order to promote the pharmaceutical businesses of Bisharyan and his friends.
It should also be noted that the licenses for importing medicine to Armenia were granted by the chairman of the Association of Pharmacists, again Artashes Bisharyan. In other words, the gathering of information on all kinds of medicine imported to Armenia , their prices, and their demand and supply also went through Bisharyan. Therefore, the expiration of one billion drams worth of humanitarian medicine can be traced directly to deliberate actions by Bisharyan.
Our attempts to obtain clarification of this issue from the office of the United Armenian Fund (USA) have thus far been unsuccessful.
But we do have at our disposal a copy of this August 12, 2002 letter from UAF employee Nouritza Abujamra, addressed to Artashes Bisharyan:
"Thank you for forwarding the distribution report for medicines and medical supplies sent to the Health Ministry on airlifts 113 and 114.
Upon reviewing the report and adding up all the quantities distributed, we noticed that very minimal quantities were distributed. Please note the last two columns of the enclosed report, which I had added. The "Total Qty. Distributed" shows the total number of bottles and boxes distributed. The following column "Qty. Not Yet Distributed" shows after more than one year of arrival of these medicines how much still is left in the warehouse, which is the bulk of the quantity sent. Most of the undistributed products cannot be used now because of their expiry dates. Could you explain to us why only very limited quantities are distributed?
We have noticed also that there are many hospital names among the recipients. We often receive in our office medical professionals from Armenia that visit Los Angeles , all expressing their dire need for medicines. Yet when we send medicines, the distribution report shows limited recipients. Please clarify this point too.
Forwarding this report in its present format to Catholic Medical Mission Board will be more negative than positive and will affect on future donations for Armenia from them.
Waiting to hear your explanations as soon as possible."
We don't know how the head of the Department of Medical and Technological Supply of the Ministry of Health, Artashes Bisharyan, responded to this letter. But the story doesn't end here. We have also found out that the Department of Medical and Technological Supply has been distributing the medicines in gross violation of regulations.
To be continued.