Friday, 21 September

Expired humanitarian medicine: Even the president got involved



Hetq has reported on how humanitarian medicine sent to Armenia was intentionally left to expire by officials from the Ministry of Health. The Republican Center for Humanitarian Assistance of the Ministry of Health is in charge of the humanitarian assistance sent to the Ministry of Health by the United Armenian Fund (USA) and other donor organizations - it stores, itemizes and distributes the assistance. In 2001-2002, one billion drams worth of humanitarian drugs sent to Armenia expired. Between August 2001 and November 2002, Artashes Bisharyan, the head of the Department of Medical and Technological Supply of the Ministry of Health, was in charge of distributing this medicine.

The main reason the drugs were left to expire was to promote the local pharmaceutical business; in other words, drug distribution was delayed intentionally, to protect the businesses of Bisharyan and his friends.

We have also reported that Artashes Bisharyan supplied Polyclinic #2 in Hrazdan, which was already closed down at the time, with 26 million drams (about $46,000) worth of medicine within the framework of a health system optimization program. The court in Sevan is currently examining this case but Bisharyan, who signed the documents providing the polyclinic, which he knew to be closed, with the drugs, is not named in it. The Ministry of Finances has concluded its audit of the Center for Humanitarian Assistance of the Ministry of Health, and according to our information, has not revealed any "significant" violations.

On July 13, 2004 President Robert Kocharyan discussed this matter during his meeting with Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepyan, but we have no information on the substance of the discussion. Two days before that, Robert Kocharyan had met with the Chairman of the United Armenian Fund, Harout Sassounian. During that meeting, issues related to the efficient and fair distribution of humanitarian medicine were discussed.

As we have reported, a criminal investigation into the case of the expired medicine has been instituted by the Prosecutor's Office. We managed to learn one very strange fact - Artashes Bisharyan, under whose supervision one billion drams worth of humanitarian drugs sent to Armenia expired, has not testified in the prosecutor's office so far. He was called into the prosecutor's office once, in 2003, but he refused to appear.

Thus, it is possible for some to ignore the orders of even the prosecutor's office in Armenia, and the likely outcome of this story will be that no one will be punished for deliberately wasting the humanitarian medicine intended for t housands of socially vulnerable families.


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... read more on "Investigation.Humanitarian medicine"
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