YEREVAN (Arka)—Silva Barsegyan, the regional manager of the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company, warned today that the Armenian health ministry is about to buy a large batch of poor quality and expensive insulin for children.
Speaking to journalists, she said on June 18 Eli Lilly received a written notification from the health ministry saying it wanted to buy insulin for children directly from the manufacturer and asked the company to submit proposals.
She said although she had only one day, she got in touch with the financial CEO of the company and negotiated a reasonable price. However, soon she learned that the ministry was negotiating with the French company Sanofi-Aventis, which proposed a price significantly higher than that of Eli Lilly.
To specify, she said Eli Lilly offers a 10-milliliter vial of high quality insulin for 2,103 drams ($5.13), while Sanofi-Aventis asks for 3,267 drams ($7.97) for a 10-milliliter vial of semi-synthetic insulin.
“The government intends to purchase 126,000 vials of insulin mixture of short-term and medium-term effect, 420,000 vials of short-term effect insulin, and 858,000 vials of medium-term effect insulin. As a result, if these drugs are bought from the French company, the government will overpay by about 251.7 million drams ($614,180) and bring in much lower quality insulin. It is a violation of the interests of the state “, she said.
Barsegyan said that if the insulin were bought from Eli Lilly the saved amount would be enough to provide 300 insulin-dependent children with analogue pen-syringes, not with vials.
Barsegyan stressed that when procuring drugs the government needs to take into account three basic qualities that characterize the drug: safety, efficiency and availability.
“But in Armenia when making procurements these rules are not observed due to a non-professional approach,” she said.
She added that the situation is similar regarding the purchase of anti-diabetic pills from Indian company Perdaman, for which the ministry of health is going to spend about 390 million drams ($951,650) in the second half of the year, while a correct calculation of costs shows that as little as 50 million drams ($122,006) would be enough. She stressed that the drugs from the Indian company were not even registered in India itself.
Arka asked the ministry of health for comments, but was told that explanations will be provided later.