The Russian government is spending $200 million this year to prop up local pharmaceutical production. Drugs produced abroad make up for 70% of the Russian market.
A government list says 50 out of 57 strategically important drugs are not made in Russia. This leaves the country dependent on imports to meet the needs of ordinary Russians – some of whom might die if they don’t get the drugs they have to take.
Denis Manturov, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, says the government is ready to provide financial aid for research and development to any company, foreign or domestic, willing to produce drugs in Russia. 83 projects have already received subsidies worth 1.3 billion roubles. The Deputy Minister also believes joining the WTO will not harm Russian drug producers as all of them meet the organization’s requirements.
Another key issue is to bring Russian drug production up to European standards. The government has approved a program that seeks to make all Russian producers meet the European GMP standards by 2014. If they do not do so by 2015 their licenses will be revoked. But this seems to be less of a challenge as 85% of the medication on the market already meets these standards. The main problem lies with some 400 small producers that make up the rest of market.
The value of the Russian pharmaceutics market is forecast to reach 600 billion roubles by the end of this year, an 8% growth since last year. Manturov believes the pharmaceuticals shouldn’t expect the robust growth in volume like it did in the 2000s, when annual gains reached 30%.