In September 2017, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a five-year Health Safe, Affordable, and Effective Medicines (SAFEMed) contract to the Management Sciences for Health (MSH). SAFEMed applies health system-strengthening best practices to create evidence-based interventions and strengthen Ukraine’s pharmaceutical system in line with the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) health care reform objectives. SAFEMed seeks to improve access to appropriate, quality medicines to maximize availability within MOH’s budgetary constraints. SAFEMed interventions will institutionalize rational medicine selection, strengthen and systematize public procurement of pharmaceuticals and commodities, support sustainable public sector pharmaceutical financing, and strengthen the pharmaceutical supply chain in collaboration with the Government of Ukraine (GOU), the MOH and the National Health Service of Ukraine (NHSU), civil society partners, other implementing partners, and the private sector. By the end of SAFEMed, Ukraine’s pharmaceutical system will be more transparent and cost-efficient and the availability of medicines will increase, thereby supporting the GOU goal of a health care system that produces desired health outcomes.
In pursuit of its goal, SAFEMed has three primary project objectives:
- Strengthening governance within the pharmaceutical sector of Ukraine;
- Optimizing the financing of the pharmaceutical sector; and
- Increasing the availability and appropriate use of medicines in Ukraine.
Currently, developed countries across the world are actively involved in establishing technologies and systems to track individual packs of medicines from manufacturer to consumer. This technology is improving the identification of counterfeit and sub-standard medicines and instances of substitution of the authentic product with a product that is not the same. Countries around Ukraine are adopting such systems to increase supply chain transparency, reduce the risk of counterfeit medicines, and increase quality assurance capability. Ukraine risks being left behind and becoming a destination of choice for non-compliant medicines unless the country adopts similar technologies. In line with the MOH strategy, SAFEMed is providing technical assistance to the MOH to:
- Understand the environment and technologies around verification (or serialization, as it is also known)
- Develop a national strategy and an implementation plan for adopting such technology in Ukraine moving forward.
The Technical Advisor - Pharmaceutical Services will support the development, piloting and implementation of the medicines verification system in Ukraine working side by side with the Ministry of Health and its agencies, patient groups and industry.
S/he will also support the introduction of bioequivalence standards for generics, bio-similars and hybrids in Ukraine through the implementation of the Action Plan developed by the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in consultation with external stakeholders.