Russian Defense Ministry’s television channel Zvezda published a story on its web site claiming that Ukraine is killing its citizens by depriving them of medical help. Twisting the truth and manipulating quotes and figures Zvezda criticizes Ukraine’s Health Ministry and the reforms that acting Health Minister Ulana Suprun is enacting.

Website screebshot Zvezda

The fake story was dutifully reprinted by, Rambler Novosti, Informburo and other Russian media.

Website screenshot Ukraina. ru

Zvezda criticizes the Ukrainian Health Ministry for banning drugs manufactured in Russia and in the occupied Donbas territories, claiming they constitute such a large amount of the drugs market in Ukraine that their absence will quite literally cause the deaths of many people.

According to Health Ministry adviser Stanislav Hreshchyshyn there are 13,057 medicines currently registered in Ukraine. Only 187 of those are produced in Russia, which is less than 1.5%. Furthermore, these 187 medicines are also available through international non-patented brands, 48 are available in local Ukrainian and international generic brands, 12 are available in Ukrainian versions and a further 10 are available through imports and only 22 do not have Ukrainian or international equivalents.  To claim that more than half the medicines produced in Russia don’t have Ukrainian equivalents is a gross untruth.

Zvezda further claims that in 2016 Ukraine’s Health Ministry only purchased only 14% of the drugs needed to treat child cancers. The Health Ministry dismisses this claim as completely false, Ukraine purchased 90% of the needed drugs, 36% have already been delivered and by autumn 2017, 88% of the drugs will have been delivered.

But Zvezda does not stop there. It goes on to claim that without their knowledge Ukrainians are subjected to clinical trials. Again the Health Ministry responds that clinical trials are standard practice throughout the world, in Ukraine clinical trials are conducted according to scientific guidelines and with the oversight of the Health Ministry’s Expert Clinical Center.

Russia’s Defense Ministry TV channel then goes on to question the qualifications of acting Health Minister Ulana Suprun, calling her incompetent and unqualified to head the Ministry and claiming she was appointed health minister because of her participation in nationalist organizations.  The Health Ministry site features a Minister Suprun’s education and professional experience.

Photo: Victoria Savchuk

Upon completing the University of Michigan medical school, Ms. Suprun continued her residency in radiology and later established a radiology practice. She specializes in women’s health diagnostic radiology. She founded Ukraine’s School of rehabilitation medicine at the Ukrainian Catholic University and is the director of Ukrainian World Congress Humanitarian Programs.