State to loosen administrative grip on import substitution in pharmaceutics

April 22, 2016 19:03

At the most recent Parliamentary session, MPs bombarded Deputy Health Minister Viachelav Shilo with questions regarding Health Ministry regulation No 66, which changed the rules for issuing medical prescriptions and selling prescribed drugs by pharmacies ’’in order to improve the country’s drug supply, including to exclude self-treatment’’. With its actions, the Ministry aimed to pursue its strategy aiming to replace foreign drugs with their Belarusian counterparts. In particular, the regulation envisages that foremost, ’’doctors should prescribe drugs purchased within the state procurement programme’’. The HM regulation caused an outcry among the population, inter alia, among doctors due to the fact that the new regulation has made it more difficult to issue prescriptions and increased the burden on doctors. In addition, many health facilities and pharmacies have not been informed and are thus not prepared for this amendment. Most likely, the health authorities will be prompted to reconsider their regulation and to make some changes to ease the work of doctors, as well as the process of dispensing drugs.

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Death penalty discussion in Belarus: yet not ready for either abolition or moratorium
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The Belarusian authorities have launched a discussion on the moratorium or abolition of the death penalty under the pressure of Belarusian human rights activists and international community. Apparently, the authorities are interested in monitoring public sentiments and response to the possible abolition of the capital punishment. The introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty would depend on the dynamics in Belarusian-European relations, efforts of the civil society organisations and Western capitals.

In Grodno last week, the possibility of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus or introducing a moratorium was discussed.

The Belarusian authorities are likely to continue to support the death penalty in Belarus. During his rule, President Lukashenka pardoned only one person, and courts sentenced to death more than 400 people since the early 1990s. Over the past year, Belarusian courts sentenced to death several persons and one person was executed.

There are no recent independent polls about people’s attitude about the death penalty in Belarus. Apparently, this issue is not a priority for the population. In many ways, public opinion about the abolition of the death penalty would depend on the tone of the state-owned media reports.

That said, the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Roman-Catholic Church stand for the abolition of the capital punishment, however their efforts in this regard only limit to public statements about their stance. Simultaneously, the authorities could have influenced public opinion about the death penalty through a focused media campaign in the state media. As they did, for example, with the nuclear power plant construction in Astravets. Initially unpopular project of the NPP construction was broadly promoted in the state media, and eventually, according to independent pollsters, was accepted by most population.