Bitter row over who will get free hepatitis C virus drug in Mongolia

Members of “Patient-social representation council” NGO and “Onom” foundation held press conference on Monday opposing distribution of free hepatitis C virus drug “ Harvoni” provided by US Based Pharmaceutical company “Gilead Sciences” for Mongolia in Arkhangai province.

Earlier, Government announced it selected Arkhangai province to distribute the free trial medicine provided by the US pharmaceutical company. Government said Arkhangai aimag tops the list of highest hepatitis C infection in the nation justifying its decision to distribute the drug in that province.

Dr.Naranbaatar Dashdorj, board chairman of Onom foundation refuted the government claim and said Arkhangai province ranks lowest in liver cancer cases of the nation citing brochure “health indicators-2016” and until now, national liver hepatitis virus distribution study haven’t been done.

According to Naranbaatar, death due to liver cancer is twice more higher in eastern province Sukhbaatar than Arkhangai province and selection of Arkhangai province for handout of free liver hepatitis drug is purely political, motivated by desire to gain support of local constituents.

Naranbaatar and others demanded the drug should be given to those socially vulnerable and can’t afford virus hepatitis treatment and medical professionals who infected during performance of their official duty.

Naranbaatar and others criticized Health Minister Tsogttsetseg and Baatarbileg, lawmaker elected from Arkhangai province for favoring Arkhangai province over other provinces with similar liver disease situations.  

Baatarbileg, former governor of Arkhangai province and lawmaker sitting in the parliament representing the province developed proposal” Arkhangai aimag free of C hepatitis virus” in May, 2016 and met with representatives of “Gilead Sciences” company requesting their help to treatment of virus hepatitis C in his province.

The company accepted the request and stated it would donate 3,000 Harvoni drugs for this. In Feb, Gilead Science shipped 1000 man dosage or 3,000 boxes of the drug to Mongolia.
According to health ministry, it was Arkhangai province and the lawmaker Baatarbileg that were better and more enterprising over other provinces and  received the help of US pharmaceutical company.

Currently, there are 130 thousand  active Virus C hepatitis carriers in Mongolia including 52.5 thousand people urgently requires hepatitis treatment. In addition, there are about 400 people with chronic hepatitis virus infection.
Dr.Naranbaatar and others critical of selection of Arkhangai province

Dr.Naranbaatar and others critical of selection of Arkhangai province

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