The article states Russia is on the verge of a flu epidemic, it also says they are sending as much help to the Ukraine as possible. There is one sentence that Very much Bothers me in this news article.
MOSCOW, November 6 (Itar-Tass) -- Most of Russian regions are on the verge of a flu epidemic, Chief Public Health Official Gennady Onishchenko said on Friday.
“The epidemic has begun in southeastern regions,” he noted.
“The cold and flu situation in the northern hemisphere is the following: the sickness rate is high in five European countries, among them the UK, Ireland and Malta. The rate is medium in seven European states, such as Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy and Spain. The sickness rate is on the rise in 48 U.S. states and in ten regions of Canada,” he said.
Onishchenko highlighted the cold and flu rate in Ukraine. “We are closely monitoring the A/H1N1 flu rate in Ukraine. Yet the media claims of the alleged border crossing restrictions are unfounded,” he said. “The only efficient method is personal preventive measures, which will protect an individual from regular and new flu.”
Russia will help Ukraine handle the A/H1N1 flu epidemic, Health and Social Development Minister Tatiana Golikova told President Dmitry Medvedev earlier in the day.
“Our neighbors, Ukrainians, are in distress. The epidemic is rather intensive. They have asked for help. Can we help them?” the president asked the minister.
The government has approved the delivery of flu medicines to Ukraine, Golikova said.
“We can supply 200,000 packs of Arbidol [a flu medicine] to Ukraine next week. We have coordinated the delivery with the Ukrainian administration. It is necessary to settle formalities. The Emergency Situations Ministry is on the standby. A government resolution is necessary for starting the humanitarian supplies,” she said.
Besides, Russia has offered Ukraine to send medical personnel and to make flu tests, Golikova said.
Medvedev ordered the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service and the Prosecutor General’s Office to prevent speculations on flu medicines in Russia.
“I will order the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service and the Prosecutor General’s Office to do the monitoring and to open criminal cases in case of violations,” Medvedev told Golikova.
“We cannot put up with that. Anyone speculating on the flu epidemic is a criminal and must face criminal charges,” he said.
Golikova said she met with domestic producers of flu medicines on Monday. The producers said they did not raise prices, she noted.
“Distributors are responsible for growing prices. Large pharmacy networks took part in the meeting. I warned them that speculators on citizens’ health would bear the consequences,” Golikova said.
The ministry will start the inoculation of Russian citizens from A/H1N1 flu on November 9, she said.
The virus is spreading a bit more rapidly than expected, Golikova said.
“The inoculation will start on November 9. The domestic pharmaceutical industry is ready to continue the production of the new vaccines,” she said.
In all, the vaccines will be produced at Microgen plants in Irkutsk and Ufa, at Petrovax and at the Serum Institute of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency in St. Petersburg. Irkutsk will produce the live vaccine, while the rest will deliver the inactivated vaccine.
“We are ready to supply the live vaccine from November 7. The clinical tests of this vaccine are over, and it will be used in the inoculation, which starts on November 9,” Golikova said.
The first inoculations will be given to transport, communication and public utility personnel and medical staff. The inoculation of children will begin in late November – early December.
Fourteen regions have applied for 774,000 doses of the vaccine.
“We will start the inoculation in regions, where the epidemic has not begun but which border on epidemic zones,” the minister said.I am not quite sure what he is meaning in the sentence, I highlighted in red. Does he mean anyone who questions the vaccine will be criminally prosecuted? Or does he mean anyone who questions if it is the Swine flu that is killing people, or something else is doing the killing, will be prosecuted?
Or does he mean both? Either way, I find that a very disturbing statement!
UPDATE 11/7/09 3:08PM - I found another article, where Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated if pharmaceutical companies try and raises prices or benefit off the epidemic then he would like them prosecuted.
GORKI, November 6 (Itar-Tass) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has instructed the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) and the Prosecutor General’s Office to watch so that distributors of pharmaceuticals and protective means do not profiteer on the new influenza epidemic, and if they expose unjustified price rises they should open criminal cases.
“I will instruct the FAS and Prosecutor General’s Office to control this process thoroughly and in the event of revealing malicious intent of actions to open criminal cases,” the RF president said at a meeting with Health and Social Development Minister Tatyana Golikova.
“We cannot tolerate this further. To profiteer on the epidemic is a direct crime and it is necessary to punish for this – to bring such heads of organisations not to administrative, but criminal responsibility. We have all the needed legal base for this,” the RF head of state stressed.
Right after the meeting Medvedev called Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika and gave him the corresponding instructions.*So, I am now going to assume his statement in the previous news article about criminally prosecuting anyone questioning the epidemic is in regards to the pharma companies, not about individuals questioning the epidemic.*
Thank you, to all the people who have commented on this article. Yes, I realized what he must have meant and how I took it wrong in initially reading it. So, thank you for correcting my reading of the article and the way it was meant to be framed in reference to the pharma companies.