Russian Ministries Urge Limits on Foreign Medicines

MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian government will limit foreign medicine purchases to protect and stimulate domestic pharmaceuticals production in the wake of Russia’s WTO accession, Vedomosti business paper reported on Thursday.

Proposals put forward by Russia’s Economic Development Ministry and the Ministry of Industry and Trade would bar foreign suppliers from state purchase tenders for medicine where there are two or more officially recognized domestically produced alternatives.

The sole exception would be made for medicines from Belarus, apparently due to its membership of the Union State with Russia.

The documents, which are still under development, are in line with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent decree, which states that 90 percent of “strategically important” medicines should be produced in Russia by 2018.

In financial terms, foreign drugs account for about 85 percent of Russia’s state purchase of medicines, Sergei Shulyak, head of the DSM Group pharmaceuticals marketing research firm, told the Vedomosti.

Imported medicines account for 70 percent of all medicines used in hospitals, and this share is higher elsewhere in the healthcare sector, DSM Group analysts said. Last year 93 percent of the most expensive medicines purchased by the state were imported, the paper reported.

The Economic Development Ministry wants suppliers to indicate the country of origin in order to be admitted to state purchase tenders, while the Industry and Trade Ministry’s draft document says medicines will be recognized as local before January 1, 2014 if they are packed and labeled in Russia. After this date, those fully produced in Russia, including from imported substances, will qualify as domestic.

The Russian Pharmaceuticals Producers Association’s General Director Viktor Dmitriyev said that these proposals could result in a 30 percent boost for domestic producers.

However, state purchases could encounter problems if Russian firms refuse to bid in state purchase tenders or when drugs are entered into the register but not sold on the market, a foreign pharmaceuticals company staffer told Vedomosti.


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