How to protect the integrity of Ukraine’s medical procurement against corruption?Nov 25, 2016
New UNDP assessment of the level of vulnerability of the health procurement sector’s integrity highlights the central role of the legislation, regulatory and management environments in allowing corruption and collusion to occur, and provides recommendations to effectively reform the Ukrainian health procurement system.
The endemic level of corruption, reaching deeply into the pharmaceutical sector in Ukraine, with a system in place enabling a few key players to dominate the market and influence the regulatory system to their own advantage, has led the Ministry of Health of Ukraine to request, since 2015, the assistance of UNDP, UNICEF, WHO and Crown Agents in procuring health products for the country on the basis of national legislation.
This integrity vulnerability assessment report analyses how the health product procurement process in Ukraine is vulnerable to corruption today, from malfeasance within the previous procurement process, continued undue influence and issues, to regulatory and state capture in Ukraine.
The main insufficiencies and inefficiencies identified in the report include the lack of staff’s technical knowledge of the system in which they operate; gaps in the legislation, regulatory and management environment that allow corruption to occur; the lack of human and financial resources to fully implement the laws and regulations properly; and the lack of capacity in state agencies to perform their duties with integrity.
As any individual can be prone to malfeasance or the misuse of delegated power, if the system they work in allows or even encourages it, it appears that the problem of corruption lies more in the integrity management system and regulatory environment of operations rather than on the individual’s moral compass.
In this regard, the design and development of an independent national procurement agency emerges as the best solution to effectively address the vulnerabilities in Ukraine’s health procurement system.
Other recommendations provided in the report to mitigate the risk of corruption vulnerability include the development of an independent Regulatory (anti-monopoly) Agency and the establishment of a user-friendly mechanism to report anti-competitive behavior; encouraging new firms to enter the procurement system; the development by the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption of a comprehensive system for preventing corruption in the health product procurement by the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption; and a targeted campaign of corruption investigation conducted by the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU).