The Ukrainian government will review all pharmacies in the country to ensure they meet requirements imposed over the current flu epidemic, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said on Sunday, according to RIA Novosti.

Tymoshenko said in comments broadcast on the main television channels that the inspections would start on Monday.

"These checks are being implemented with two purposes: first - the availability in pharmacies of a minimum package of medicines and medical goods," she said. "Second - checks on prices for medicines, which should not exceed the rates that were charged before the epidemic."

She added that pharmacies where the price of drugs is inflated will lose their licenses.

Ukraine has officially declared an H1N1 epidemic, and the Health Ministry said on Sunday that 53 people had died because of influenza and acute respiratory infections, although it was not known how many of those were due to swine flu.

In connection with the epidemic, there has been a rush on medicines and masks, and prices have risen sharply.

The health minister said on Sunday that 300,000 doses of swine flu vaccinations would arrive from Switzerland overnight, which would be enough to last for a week.

President Viktor Yushchenko on Sunday called for international assistance in dealing with the flu epidemic in the country.

Offers of help have already been received from Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Russia and Poland, including for the delivery of vaccines and medical masks, and a team of World Health Organization experts is expected in the country on Monday.


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