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Ukraine group says graft ruined health care

Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center (Courtesy photo via Radio Free Europe)A big reason Ukrainians risked their lives at the barricades in Kiev to throw out then-President Viktor Yanukovych was because they were sick of grand corruption victimizing ordinary citizens.

One civil society group — the Kiev-based Anti-corruption Action Center — is now pushing hard to reform the country’s anti-corruption laws.

Graft, the group said, has already had “a direct impact on health care in Ukraine.”

“Ukraine experiences the highest in Europe spread of HIV/AIDS, TB and hepatitis,” it said.

“Ukraine has a high level of children’s death and a low life expectation, i.e. 30% of the Ukraine’s population does not live till 60 years old.”

Huge amounts of money “are being stolen from the state budget without ever making it to hospitals, pharmaceutical firms, medical research centers, etc. Though the Constitution of Ukraine guarantees a right to free health care, this right is constantly abused. The population of Ukraine has been constantly shrinking since its independence,” the Anti-Corruption Action Center said.

To reform health care, the group has started monitoring and analyzing state tenders for medicines for patients with HIV/AIDS, TB and hepatitis.

It’s working with members of parliament to blow the whistle on corrupt tenders and pressure law-enforcement agencies and banks to act against crooked officials and companies.

It’s monitoring pharmas in Ukraine and the connection between their owners and high-ranking state officials. Drug makers with large contracts from Ukraine’s government are getting the most scrutiny.

And it’s pushing for new laws to target corruption in the health care sector.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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