Carrying out treatment with drugs not accredited in the RA, the medical worker contributed to his own family’s business interests instead of improving the citizen’s health state.
Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor made a crime report to the RA Prosecutor General’s Office, based on which, on October 18, 2019, a criminal case was initiated in the RA Police Vanadzor city Taron division for harming the citizen’s health state as a result of improper performance of professional duties.
On September 25, 2019, B.K. applied to Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor to protect his rights. B.K. stated that in summer 2018, he was diagnosed with cancer and he started to get treatment in “Vanadzor” medical center under the immediate supervision of physician-chemotherapist, oncologist N.K. So far he had undergone 8 treatment courses and also an operation in December 2018. Doctor N.K. prescribed him drugs and directed him to her husband’s pharmacy located on the territory of former medical center. Among other drugs, for the 8 treatment courses, B.K. brought from the pharmacy of N.K.’s husband 8 “Avastin” drugs, each costing 800 dollars.
During the whole treatment, spending a considerable amount of money, i.e. 6400 dollars, on the above-mentioned drug and not noticing any positive change in his health state, the 72-year-old pensioner asks N.K. about the quality and efficiency of the drug prescribed. He informs the doctor about his knowledge that “Avastin”, bought from her husband’s pharmacy for months on end, is not accredited in the RA, is not approved by the RA Ministry of Health and is actually in illegal circulation. Doctor N.K. does not reject that information. To prove the truth of his words and to protect his rights later, B.K. decides to record his conversation with the doctor.
The recording makes it clear that doctor N.K. clarifies for the citizen that the drug does not have a registration certificate because in case of entering the tax field, citizens, including B.K., would have to buy the drug by a much more expensive price. With regard to the quality and efficiency of the drug, the doctor tries to make the citizen calm down pointing out her long-standing professional experience and ensures that she has prescribed Avastin for many clients and so far it has not resulted in any death case. B.K. asks why the doctor did not inform him, besides the price, about the efficiency of the drug so that he could have an opportunity to choose whether he wants to get a treatment with expensive drugs which are not accredited or not. The doctor responds that as a doctor she considered it her duty to organize B.K.’s treatment. In case of informing him about the risks of the treatment, it was not excluded that he would reject it.
It becomes clear that doctor K. subordinated the citizen’s health and life to her family’s business interest and instead of providing a conscientious treatment preferred to ensure the continuous income of her husband’s pharmacy at the expense of selling illegally imported drugs. Considering all this, i.e. expenses incompatible with his difficult social situation, no positive change in his health state and no positive guarantees from the doctor regarding his further treatment, B.K. starts to doubt the efficiency of the treatment and usefulness of the drugs.
During the preliminary investigation of the criminal case initiated based on HCA Vanadzor report, other noteworthy data were obtained. In particular, during the preliminary investigation it was found out that during summer 2018- spring 2019, Vanadzor MC oncology department cabinet nurse A.K. offered B.K. to give N.K. bribe for the 8 chemotherapy course. B.K. agreed and gave N.K., in her working cabinet and in person, 15,000 drams for each course.
It is no less important that according to Article 16 of the RA law “On Drugs”, in the Republic of Armenia, it shall be permitted to manufacture, import, distribute, dispense, sell, and use medicinal products that are registered in the Republic of Armenia. The law also clearly defines that the primary and/or external package, label, color mock-ups of packages, summary of products characteristics (SmPC), instruction for use (PIL), and quality specifications of the medicinal product shall be approved during registration. Article 23 of the same law defines that it shall be prohibited to sell medicinal products, that are not registered in the Republic of Armenia, or do not meet the quality requirements, or have expired, or have had their registration voided or suspended, or have had their circulation ceased (have been recalled).
Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor records that under this condition, the person who is engaged in the circulation of the drug of unknown origin and who prescribes it to persons with health problems is not a random person , but a person who has undertaken the duty to protect citizens’ life and health, in this case, it is doctor N.K. It turns out that she used her profession and title exclusively for her family’s business interests by doing an illegal action which contradicts her profession and is criminally prosecuted.
The criminal case was initiated under Article 130§1 of the RA Criminal Code (Failure to implement or improper implementation of professional duties by medical and support personnel, as a result of careless or not diligent treatment which through negligence caused grave or medium-gravity damage to the patient), Article 200§1 of the RA Criminal Code (Illegal offer, promise or delivery of cash, securities, other property, right to the property to the administrative employee of a commercial or other organization, intermediary judge, auditor, arbitrator, including the arbitrator implementing functions in accordance with the arbitration legislation of a foreign state, or lawyer, related to the posts of these persons to act (not act) in favor of the briber) and Article 200§3 of the RA Criminal Code (Accepting cash, securities, other property, right to the property from an administrative employee of a commercial or other organization, intermediary judge, auditor, arbitrator, including the arbitrator implementing functions in accordance with the arbitration legislation of a foreign state, or lawyer, related to the posts of these persons to act (not act) in favor of the briber).