President holds meeting to discuss availability of medications to citizens

    The issue of the availability of medications to citizens was top on the agenda of the meeting with the President of Belarus on 11 March.

    The head of state reminded, domestic output should cover 50% of the national demand for medications by late 2015. Meanwhile, Belarus remains vulnerable now since it imports two thirds of the demand.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked production and import of medications is expensive.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko pledged frugal spending and added all the conditions for people to stay healthy had been created.

    Belarusian Healthcare Minister Vasily Zharko informed the head of state about the progress in fulfilling his instruction to reach the 50% target.

    The session also touched upon the provision of socially vulnerable population strata with medications at preferential prices. The head of state was interested in how children are supplied with medications and the overall problem of supplying medications at preferential prices.

    According to the President, corruption and illegal medications sales used to be a major concern. “We have managed to root out such cases in Belarus for the most part. But I am very concerned about it. Let’s discuss what we can do to supply the population with medications at preferential prices”.

    The President also inquired about the fulfillment of the national demographic security program that was adopted a year before.

    Labor and Social Protection Minister Marianna Shchetkina said, one-time maternity benefits were raised last year.

    The program provides for changing the method to calculate monthly childcare benefits for children under three in 2012, aligning the benefits with the average salary and differentiating the benefits depending on the number of children born in a family.

    Figures testify that the number of children born in 2011 exceeded that of 2010 by 1,300. Yet the majority of families (65%) have only one child.

    At the end of the session the President made the decision to make regular medications available to children under three (402 items) for free. The decision is supposed to bolster support for families with kids.

    Moreover, the suggestion to raise discounts on medications bought by people with 3rd degree disabilities up to 30% was voiced. At present people with 1st and 2nd degree disabilities enjoy a 90% discount on medications.

    Yet Aleksandr Lukashenko decided to raise the discount up to 50% for people with 3rd degree disabilities. The discount will be available for regular medications used to treat the condition that has resulted in the disability.