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Shortage of HIV and Hepatitis Medications for Russian Prisons - Report

The Prosecutor General's Office has reported that convicts in Russian prisons did not receive sufficient amounts of medication to treat HIV and hepatitis last year, the RBC news agency reported Friday, citing the response of the Prosecutor General's Office to an appeal sent by the Rights Zone human rights movement.

The Federal Penitentiary Service sends requests for necessary drugs to the Health Ministry which then organizes the delivery of the drugs, RBC reported.

According to the report, the Health Ministry received requests for medications worth 2.3 billion rubles, but the drug supplies delivered amounted to 1.9 billion rubles, RBC reported.

Due to the lack of medication, "the prisoners are forced to interrupt their treatment, which is a grave threat to their health," Rights Zone lawyer Sergei Petryakov told the Mediazona news site.

Rights Zone representative Bulat Mukhamedzhanov suggested that the deliveries had failed due to significant fluctuations in exchange rates. "As prices leapt, the prices set by the Health Ministry became inconsistent with market values," he said, RBC reported.

In order to improve the situation, the Federal Penitentiary Service bought additional medication worth 16.5 million rubles, the report said. About 13.5 million rubles worth of medication was also sent to Russian regional prisons.

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