Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky insists that Ukraine will be among the first countries to be able to purchase a vaccine against COVID-19 as soon as it appears on the pharmaceutical market.
The head of state, according to the presidential office, on Saturday held a traditional meeting with representatives of the government, law enforcement agencies and relevant departments on the epidemiological situation in the country and measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Zelensky inquired about progressing of his task of keeping Ukraine on the waiting list for the coronavirus vaccine when it is made.
“Our diplomatic contacts and global resources report that the vaccine is already being produced in several countries. Even if it is ready next year, Ukraine should be among the first countries to purchase the vaccine. We must think about it now. The whole world is lining up,” the president stressed.
Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said that, on the instructions of the president, he conducts consultations and keeps in touch with companies and diplomats from different countries, studying information.
Ukrainian legislation should enable pharmaceutical manufacturers to buy a license for the production of a COVID-19 vaccine, which can be developed by foreign companies, Head of the supervisory board of JSC Farmak (Kyiv) Filya Zhebrovska has said.
“Ukrainian legislation should provide an opportunity so that we can buy or use a license, possibly pay royalties, so that we have the opportunity to produce this vaccine,” the company’s press service reported, quoting her as saying.
Zhebrovska said that the possibility of buying a license to produce a COVID-19 vaccine at Ukrainian production facilities will reduce the price of this vaccine by 15-20% compared with the purchase of the finished product.
As reported, Farmak does not rule out the possibility of joining a consortium, which the European Investment Bank (EIB), together with WHO, created to develop the COVID-19 vaccine. The EIB allocated EUR 7.6 billion to this consortium.
In the middle of May, Farmak, as part of international research, began the third phase of clinical trials of the Amizon drug (Enisamium) in fighting COVID-19 in Ukraine.
Farmak is the leader in the pharmaceutical market with a share of 5.9% in monetary terms. The company annually reinvests of approximately 95% of the profits in its development.
Farmak is a member of the Manufacturers of Medications of Ukraine association.
According to the public register, the ultimate beneficial owner of PJSC Farmak is Zhebrovska, who holds 80% of shares in the company.
The Health Ministry of Ukraine could design an action plan to resume national production of immunobiological preparations and approve it by the end of 2018. According to the draft resolution of the government on the approval of the strategy for the development of the National Program for Immunological Prophylaxis and Protection of the Population from Vaccine-Controlled Infections until 2022 and the plan for its implementation, posted on the website of the Health Ministry, proposals for the resumption of production can be developed and approved in the third quarter.
Together with the Health Ministry, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, the Finance Ministry, the National Academy of Medical Sciences will also be involved in the designing of the plan.
If the strategy and the plan for its implementation are adopted this year, the ministry will also audit the legislation on registration and re-registration of immunobiological preparations and in the first quarter of 2019, following the audit, will prepare changes to the relevant procedures and submit them for approval by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
In addition, in 2018, the issue of limiting the access of unvaccinated children (in accordance with the vaccination schedule) to groups of children will be resolved, and the vaccination will be revised to optimize the vaccination calendar, storage, transportation and registration of immunobiological preparations.
The plan provides for the improvement of the system for the procurement of serums, antitoxins, introduction of incentives for health workers for increasing the level of vaccination, as well as a number of measures to build awareness of the value of immunization among the population and health workers, and the improvement of the surveillance system for vaccine-preventable infections.