THE PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCES 20 NEW MEDICINES IN SMALL AMOUNTS // 09. 1993.
EDIN ARSLANAGIC // DIRECTOR OF THE ‘BOSNALIJEK’ COMPANY
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

September 1993

Edin Arslanagic
Director of the Pharmaceutical Company
THE PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCES 20 NEW MEDICINES IN SMALL AMOUNTS

‘In 1991 we have given ourselves a task that we have to start off with the production of the mass consumption medications. As Bosnalijek was well known for its pallet of very specific drugs that was satisfying the market of former Yugoslavia, and was generating very small profit, you know. As at that time there were state regulations that determined the price and everything else. Distribution of medicines was a problem in itself. Sarajevo had no electricity then, had no infrastructure. We just had to improvise, we all improvised in Sarajevo to the best of our ability, but you can’t improvise when you’re producing medicines. We managed to organize a regular supply of water, in one of our cistern lorries from the Sarajevo Brewery, clean water was essential. We kept up the level of hygiene in the premises with alcohol which we got from the International Red Cross, because there wasn’t a drop of alcohol, not even in hospitals, and no way for such a widespread use as keeping premises and utensils sterile. Over electricity we got help from the Ministry of Energy and Industry who supplied us with a gas generator donated from the Netherlands, because we could get gas. So we were able to start regular production. If there was no gas we could for a short time rely on very small reserves of naphtha which we got through the black market. I think that naphtha was more expensive at that time than ever before, 40 marks a liter, but we kept a minimum enough for one hour of work to finish a production line.’

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SEPTEMBER 1993


• Soup kitchens are opened for the survival of pensioners.
• Geneva, September 1, 1993. In Geneva peace negotiations continue. The following representatives from the BiH government take part: Alija Izetbegovic, Haris Silajdzic, Miro Lazovic, Ivo Komsic, Irfan Ljubljankic, Muhamed Filipovic, Fikret Abdic, Kasim Trnka and Mugdim Cukle.


• Geneva, September 4, 1993. Peace negotiations collapse.
• In Sarajevo the paper “Zadrugar” is published, with advice on the topic “How to Survive.”
• Mario Braco Kolak, graphic designer for “Oslobodjenje” newspaper, makes a hydroelectric generator on the Miljacka to supply electricity.


• The Ukraine battalion of the UN is charged with smuggling and importing heroin hidden in oranges
• BiH receives the international telephone code of 387.


• U.S. President Bill Clinton meets in Washington with Alija Izetbegovic.
• Large amounts of electricity enter Sarajevo. Elektroprivreda makes a reduction plan.
• Humanitarian aid only comes to the city through the air bridge; land convoys are halted.
• Islam Dzugum, marathon runner, does not reach the Mediterranean Games in Montpelier but is held up at Jablanica. Nevertheless, his views on training: “My task is to train, and the day will come when I will show how much it paid off.”


• The Children’s Embassy and the air transport company “Air-Commerce” seek out an air corridor for the return of refugee children in Sarajevo, as well as a means of delivering food into the city.
• For the organization “Nasa djeca”, the children of Sarajevo draw pictures for the children of New York, while those of New York do the same for those of Sarajevo.
• The writer Valerijan Zujo works on compiling his lexicon “Sarajevo”.


• Sadako Ogata, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, announces a complete cessation of humanitarian aid until a political agreement is reached to end the war.
• Geneva, September 15, 1993. In Geneva, Alija Izetbegovic and Franjo Tudjman sign a Declaration on terminating hostilities and ending military conflict between the Army of BiH and the HVO.
The resolution
1. Insures an immediate end to all hostilities and military conflict between the ARBiH and the HVO, in accordance with the agreement of July 30, 1993, effective immediately, no later than September 18, 1993;
2. Ensures the mutual unconditional closure of all camps and the release of prisoners in territory under the control of the ARBiH and the HVO, effective immediately, no later than September 21;
3. Ensures both sides create conditions for the free and unimpeded passage of humanitarian convoys and the activities of charity organizations;
4. Establishes working meetings for the supervision and protection of human rights in the territory under the control of the ARBiH and the HVO in accordance with the directives and recommended resolution of the peace conference on BiH;
5. Establishes a working group on the issue of territorial demarcation between the two republics for the planned union of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the issue of sea access as a common development interest;
6. Establishes a working group for the development and implementation monitoring of the restoration and strengthening of trust and co-existence among the Croat and Muslim peoples, including media and other programs to overcome existing hostility.
Signatories of the Declaration on behalf of the BiH delegation: Alija Izetbegovic, Haris Silajdzic, Ejup Ganic, Muhamed Filipovic, Ivo Komsic; on behalf of the Republic of Croatia: Franjo Tudjman, Hrvoje Sarinic, Zeljko Matic, Miomir Zuzul, Hidajet Biscevic.


• 50 years of the newspaper “Oslobodenje” celebrated. As a sign of support, guests from across the world attend the celebration in Sarajevo.


• Ana Mrdovic, agronomist, gives advice to Sarajevans on maintaining a garden during the fall.


• In Sarajevo a cigarette is worth more than gold. An older “golf” is worth three cartons of cigarettes.


• In a meeting at Sarajevo airport a ceasefire is proclaimed between the HVO and ARBiH.


• Celebration of the Jewish new year.
• Formation of an international firefighters brigade.


• On a U.S. aircraft carrier, the “Invisible”, in the Adriatic Sea, a meeting is held between Alija Izetbegovic, Mate Boban and Radovan Karadzic with Lord Owen. Izetbegovic seeks access to the sea at Neum. The Croats are against it.


• The BH “Pen center" is accepted into the world “Pen center".


• The Presidency of the City Assembly decides: “Thieves of transformer oil will be shot without warning.”


• Lord Owen: “The Bosnian Presidency holds the keys to the peace plan.”


• The Children’s Embassy plans the opening of “Child Land”.


• Tow trucks appear on the streets of Sarajevo, towing away “improperly parked automobiles” to the delight of Sarajevans observing this spectacle. .


• The Office for transport publishes a list for the departures of convoys. Those eligible for work detail are removed from the list.


• NATO is ready to send peacekeeping troops.
• CSB discovers miniature marijuana plantations in apartments in the city.
• The Government issues a decision introducing daylight saving time.


• “Bosnalijek” produces 20 new medicines in small batches.
• “Velepekara” lacks oil even for transport, let alone to operate generators
• Geneva, November 29, 1993. In Geneva peace negotiations being. Participants: Alija Izetbegovic, Franjo Tudjman, Slobodan Milosevic, Mate Boban and Radovan Karadzic.

Medical care

Medical care: its main characteristic is very friendly personnel, which was not the case before the war. It is very efficient. Aside from the hospital and emergency rooms, you will hear quickly about all the improvised ambulances. The maternity hospital has been shelled and is out of use, so babies are born in the regular hospital. When visiting the dentist, you should take your bottle with water, and gloves, which she can use while treating you.
Pharmacies are working, but medicine is mostly missing. Bring your own vitamins. In emergency - look for the locations of Benevolencija and Caritas.

HOSPITALS

In Spring 1992 the public-health service in the Old Town was shelled. In May 1992 the State Hospital was intensively shelled and it was hit by more than 200 shells during the siege. The victims were patients. The Kosevo clinic suffered the same fate. Its operating theaters and intensive care units were hit. The hospitals were usually shelled with plated shells which would pass through several rooms The patients were often evacuated and the surgeons frequently performed operations without electricity or water, using candles and five-liter canisters. Hundreds of citizens were admitted to hospitals each day.

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