Grantee Spotlight: Healthy Governance Improves Healthcare in Ukraine


For years, the quality of healthcare in Ukraine has been undermined by corruption and the enormous influence of the country’s pharmaceutical industry.

But Ukrainian civil society groups are working strategically to combat corruption. “Patients of Ukraine” is a non-profit organization that focuses specifically on the country’s healthcare system. It advocates for transparency and monitors the activities of state medical institutions.

In 2016, Patients played a key role in changing the law that governs state procurement processes for vital medicines in an effort to improve their delivery and reduce corruption. The organization’s successful advocacy campaign resulted in the removal of flawed regulations that created illicit opportunities for massive graft by government officials.

In Ukraine, the governmental health system provides a range of important medicines free of charge.  By controlling the public procurement of medicines, corrupt pharmaceutical companies were selling low-quality medicines at breath-taking mark-ups. Often, there were no registered drugs for some categories of patients. Other times, the quality of available medicines was so low that people were forced to smuggle alternatives from abroad.

The new law, which passed in May 2016, significantly simplifies access to the Ukrainian market for medicines licensed in specific countries (the US, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, and the EU). Under the new law, the supply of affordable, high-quality medicines will increase, to the benefit of all Ukrainians seeking medical care.

With this reform, Ukraine’s healthcare system will better serve its patients. NED is proud to stand with Patients of Ukraine in its efforts to end corruption and improve access to quality healthcare.

The National Endowment for Democracy is a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Each year, NED makes more than 1,600 grants to non-governmental initiatives – like Patients of Ukraine – that promote free societies and democratic participation.

Explore NED’s work in Central and Eastern Europe.