Complaints have been addressed to the Human Rights Defender regarding the
obstacles to receiving medication from another country for personal use by
postal delivery during the State of Emergency declared due to the novel
coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.
The study of the complaints addressed to the Human Rights Defender shows
that the issue raised by the citizens is of systemic nature which became more
apparent during the State of Emergency restrictions. In particular, citizens
could not receive medications registered in Armenia for personal use by postal
delivery from another country. From this point of view, the Human Rights
Defender records that there are many practical examples when citizens have
brought the same medication to Armenia personally or received them through
The issue was that according to the Government's decision, in order to
obtain an unregistered or registered medication, which was not available in the
pharmaceutical market of Armenia, by postal delivery, citizens had to apply to
the Ministry of Health, substantiating the need for using the unregistered
medication, after which the Ministry provided the applicant a prior permission
or, in case of substitute available in the market, rejection. The Human Rights
Defender has regularly raised this issue during various discussions, as well as
in annual reports.
During the investigation of the complaints, the Human Rights Defender
addressed a letter to the Ministry of Health with a recommendation to amend the
Government decision. The issue, as recorded by the Human Rights Defender, was
that as a result of such regulation individuals found themselves in a difficult
situation, as they could not buy the medication registered in Armenia due to
the significant price difference and they were also not allowed to receive it
by postal delivery. Moreover, the problem got more complicated in cases when a
person received both registered and unregistered medication in Armenia in one
package by a postal delivery. In this case, in order to receive the unregistered
medication, the person had to make additional financial expenses in order to
destroy the medication registered in Armenia in accordance with the law or to
reject the entire postal package to avoid additional financial expenses. Thus,
the person was also deprived of the opportunity to receive medication that are
not registered in Armenia.
Following the adoption on the Law on Making Amendment and Supplements to
the RA Law on Drugs by the National Assembly, the Human Rights Defender
addressed an additional letter to the Minister of Health with a recommendation
to make respective amendments in the Government’s decision and bring it in line
with the RA Law on Drugs. The new amendment to the law establishes a clear
right to receive medication for personal use by postal delivery.
As a result, changes were made in the Government's decision, according to
which a person can receive medication for personal use by postal delivery once
a calendar year, up to 5 medication, 3 consumer packages of each (the quantity in
which the medication is sold in pharmacies).
In case of exceeding these amount, it is necessary to obtain a permission
of the Ministry of Health and an import certificate.
The Human Rights Defender highlights the efforts of the Government, the
National Assembly and the Ministry of Health in resolving this issue.