President Serzh Sargsyan visited the medical drugs producing and importing Pharmatex Company to familiarize with the developmental programs of the enterprise. During the tour of the main premise and laboratories of the Pharmatex, the President of Armenia observed also the working conditions existing in the Company. After the tour, President Sargsyan invited a working meeting on the problems related to the areas of state monitoring mechanisms, affordability of the health care services, and medication policies, President’s Press Office reported.
Present at the meeting were the RA Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Territorial Administration Armen Gevorkian, Chief of Presidential Staff Vigen Sarkissian, RA Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepian, Chairman of the Permanent Commission on Health, Maternity and Childhood Issues of the RA National Assembly Ara Babloyan, Head of the RA National Security Service Gorik Hakopian, Minister of Health Derenik Dumanian, Minister of Economy Tigran Davtian, Minister of Finance Vache Gabrielian, Head of the RA State Revenue Committee Gagik Khatchatrian, Head of the RA Presidential Oversight Service Hovhannes Hovsepian, Head of the RA State Commission on Protection of Economic Competition Artak Shaboyan, Director of “Medicine and Medical Technologies Expert Center” Ltd Hakop Topchian, Chairman of Medicine Producing and Importing Union Samvel Zakarian, officials from the Ministry of Health.
The President proposed that the participants of the meeting speak in detail about the problems which took root in the area of health care. “I want to understand, what is the real problem that a considerable part of our society’s dissatisfaction is with this particular area? Specialized research reveals that our people among all areas the greatest number of injustices see particularly in the area of health care, and the level of the perceived injustices in this area, unfortunately, is on the rise. Our citizens’ greatest concern is that the state subsidies are not utilized properly, the corruption level remains high; they complain about, in their words, “wrong treatment without responsibility”, bad services, violation of people’s rights, red tape and all this stuff with the medications and the current situation in general. I am fully aware that there are numerous problems in our country, that there is hardly an area in our state life that is void of problems, which cause discontent, however the medical sphere is the only one which dissatisfy one third of our population. And this happens when we traditionally believe that our health care system is a good one, professionalism of our doctors is very high, and we aspire to become a regional medical center, etc. Dissatisfaction of the one third of our population is a serious signal that we need to introduce fundamental changes in this area.
We should be able to raise the role and dignified reputation of doctors in our society and at the same time should make sure that people who use medical services are satisfied with all provided services and their affordability,” President Sargsyan underscored. The President of Armenia also noted that there are problems which relate not only to those responsible for the health care system and in order to make everybody happy it is necessary to engage considerable material resources. However, according to the President, efficient use of the existing resources in this situation becomes the most critical factor. According to Serzh Sargsyan, it is necessary to achieve actual change which is quite possible.
The President spoke also about the works conducted in the area of health care in recent years. “In last 4-5 years, a huge amount of works has been accomplished and considerable results have been achieved in the renovation of medical institutions all over the country, their modernization, and equipment with modern devices. This cannot be denied. However all our efforts will be wasted if our attitude remains the same and if we are not able to make dramatic changes,” the President of Armenia said.
Head of the Presidential Oversight Service Hovhannes Hovsepian presented a report on the main findings of the Service based on the inquires conducted on September 19-26, 2012 and related to the process of state purchases in the area of health care and on the situation at the medication market in general, including revealed shortcomings on some directions. Meanwhile, the RA Minister of Health Derenik Dumanian presented priorities of the medical sphere identified by the Ministry of Health based on the concerns voiced during the previous meeting invited by the President at the RA Government and proposals aimed at their resolution.
After considering the presented facts, listening to the analysis of the roots of mentioned problems and after discussing them painstakingly with the participants of the meeting, President Serzh Sargsyan assessed the situation in the area of health care as a total failure, criticizing harshly not only the RA Ministry of Health but also inaction of the officials of other relevant state bodies responsible for the shortcomings.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the President gave instructions to the responsible officials. It was also directed to prepare in six to eight months a program of fundamental changes in the area based on all the proposals and to present it for approval.