Availability of Essential Medicines for Pediatric Oncology in Armenia

Document Type: Short Communications

Authors

1 American University of Armenia, School of Public Health, Yerevan, Armenia.

2 Yerevan State Medical University, Yerevan, Armenia.

3 Armenian Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Group, Yerevan, Armenia.

4 Hematology Center, Yerevan, Armenia.

5 Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia.

6 Scientific Center of Drug and Medical Technology Expertise, Yerevan, Armenia.

7 National Center of Oncology, Yerevan, Armenia.

Abstract

Background: One of the main contributors in low survival rate in LMIC is the lack of availability of cancer
medications for curative, supportive and palliative care. In many developing countries access to cytotoxic medicine is
a major challenge. The information about the availability of essential medicines for pediatric cancer in the country is
not known. The main objective of this study was to determine whether the medications used during the treatment of
pediatric cancer are available in Armenia. Methods: In summer 2016 we conducted a survey in the 3 main pharmacies
in Yerevan, which import pediatric cancer medications to Armenia to evaluate whether medications used during cancer
treatment are officially registered and available in the country. In addition, the information on official registration was
cross-checked with the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia (MOH). Simultaneously, detailed information
about the drugs, on type of produced drug company, doses and price intervals was confined from the price lists of the
national drug importer companies. Results: The survey included 64 agents in three classes of medication: anti-neoplastics,
anti-microbials, and drugs used in supportive care. All of these medications were included in the recent version of the
WHO model list of essential medicines. From 30 anti-neoplastic medications on the essential medicines list 22 (73%)
were officially registered in Armenia; from 19 anti-microbial drugs all were registered except caspofungin and from
15 supportive care agents 13 (87%) were registered. From registered anti-neoplastic drugs 18% and from antimicrobial
drugs 33% were not available in the drug stores. Conclusion: This study showed that not all the drugs from the SIOP
PODC Essential Medication list for pediatric oncology are officially registered and available in Armenia, and effective
drug regulation focusing on the childhood cancer care medicine is needed for improving the situation in the country.

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