Asset 3


End of content No more pages to load

Your search did not match any articles

Tatev Khachatryan

While Importing French Diabetes Drug, Government Continues to Purchase Indian DiaZone MR at a Higher Price

Despite a January 30, 2015 Armenian government decision to the contrary, those suffering from Type-2 diabetes in Armenia will still be receiving DiaZone MR, a drug manufactured in India that many claim leads to deleterious side effects like nausea and dizziness, at state-run polyclinics even though the superior French drug (Diabeton MR) is already being imported.

Local endocrinologists do not deny that they are prescribing the Indian drug to their patients.

Surprisingly, even after the Armenian government signed a five year purchase contract with Servier, a French manufacturer of Diabeton MR, the health ministry imported another 4,000 packages of DiaZone MR at a cost of US$16,765 in May of this year.

On August 13, Armenia imported another 4,000 packages of the Indian drug.

It turns out that Armenia’s Ministry of Health, parallel to the government’s decision, has signed another contract with Arfarm Ltd. to purchase DiaZone MR.

On February 16, 2015, the ministry and Arfarm Ltd signed a $90,000 contract for the Indian drug. The purchase price of one tablet is 44.7 dram. This is more than the 42.33 dram per tablet price according to the Armenian government purchase contract with French drug maker Servier for its Diabeton MR.

The government decision notes that since the price offered by Servier was less than the minimum price offered by Arfarm, the contract would go to the French company.

In response to a Hetq inquiry as to why additional quantities of the drug are being purchased from another company, at a higher price, the health ministry simply responded that it had signed a contract with Arfarm based on a December 26, 2014 tender bid. There were no further explanations.

Armenia started to import DiaZone MR in 2013. The price of one pill was 56.7 drams. Prior to November 2014, the price dropped to 44.7 drams. This was the case even though Arfarm, from 2013-2014, was getting the drug from its Indian supplier at a cost 70% cheaper for one box of 100 pills, paying $2.50 when compared to the present $4.25.

Thus, while paying $2.5 for one box of the Indian drug (one pill 10-12 drams), the company turned around and sold it to the government for five times more. And now, when one pill of the Indian drug costs some 20 drams, it is selling it for 44.7 drams.

From 2012-2015, the health ministry and Arfarm signed various drug contracts worth some $5 million.

One of the contracts was for other Indian drugs – Diamet F and DiaMar M. They are still being imported to Armenia and prescribed to patients.

Endocrinologists in Armenia claim that there are individuals who prefer the Indian options and that they prescribe either the Indian or the French variety based on their diagnosis and recommendation.

“Isn’t it obvious that they would rather receive Diabeton,” says Yerevan 19 Polyclinic endocrinologist Hrachouhie Saroyan. “But the stocks of DiaZone must be used up. We have to use the Indian drug; otherwise the leftover will be burned.”

But the Indian drug will never be used up since it continues to be imported to the benefit of people in high places. Who cares if it is costly or of lower quality?

No one has asked the 67,000 people in Armenia suffering from Type-2 diabetes. 

Write a comment

If you found a typo you can notify us by selecting the text area and pressing CTRL+Enter