Putin: Industry must back Russia's 90% domestic drugmaking target

By Dan Stanton contact

- Last updated on GMT

President Putin spoke at the Russian Popular Front’s forum for Quality and Affordable Medicine! Monday
President Putin spoke at the Russian Popular Front’s forum for Quality and Affordable Medicine! Monday

Related tags: Pharmacology, Russia

Vladimir Putin says support from Russian business community is needed to help achieve the domestic drug manufacturing goals set out in his Pharma 2020 policy.

Pharma 2020 was launched in 2011 by Putin - then Russian Prime Minister - who said Government investment of RUB 120bn ($1.8bn) would help increase local drug manufacture and reduce reliance on imports.

The idea was that Russia would be able to produce 50% of all the drugs it uses - and 85% of the medicines it deems essential - by 2020. Whether this target will be reached is unclear.

Speaking at the Russian Popular Front’s forum for Quality and Affordable Medicine this week, Putin restated the 2020 goal but warned that private investment from the country's drugmakers is now needed.

“We expect by 2018 to achieve such a level of the domestic pharmaceutical industry development that will ensure us with approximately 90% share of locally manufactured drugs in the structure of internal drug consumption,”​ he said (transcript, in Russian, here​).

“We must find a way to achieve this goal,”​ Putin continued, adding that “Without you, without your co-workers, business representatives working in this field… this problem cannot be solved.”

Innovation, not just generics

Putin also reminded stakeholders that importing drug ingredients and compounding them in Russia did not constitute domestic manufacture.

“We must strive to ensure that the territory of the Russian Federation to produce the substance,” ​he said, adding the aims of these policies was to build an innovative drug development and manufacturing industry, not just scale up generic production.

Despite his desire for domestic dominance, Putin stressed a commitment to local manufacture would not mean a ban on foreign imports.

“We have never said, are not saying at the moment, and have no intention to say that we will ban any imported drugs or imported equipment - no way!"

Foreign investment

Since the initiation of Pharma 2020, a number of foreign drugmakers have built facilities or formed joint ventures with local drugmakers in order to secure access to a market estimated to be worth over $35bn by 2020​.

GSK formed a JV with Binnopharm in 2011​, while AstraZeneca​, Novartis​ and – most recently – Novo Nordisk​ are some of the large pharma firms to have invested in production facilities.

These latest comments by the President will not affect foreign investment or interest in Russia, Chief Regulatory Officer at Russian CRO Synergy Research Group Yuri Afonchikov, told in-Pharmatechnologist.com.

“Moreover it will not affect the supply of foreign drugs in Russia,” he said. “The main message of the speech was to intensify domestic investments into the development of the national pharmaceutical industry.”

Afonchikov added since the adoption of the policy, there has been some evidence of its progress:

“Since 2012 the VED [vital and essential drugs] list included 567 pharmaceutical products among which only 93 items were manufactured in Russia (16.4%), 267 medications (47.1%) were manufactured by both domestic and foreign companies, and the remaining 207 (36.5%) were of foreign origin.

“An updated list of VED, adopted in late December in 2014, already includes 608 names with 413 locally manufactured drugs (68%).”

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