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Pharmaceuticals Imports Down

Pharmaceuticals imports in Russia fell in the first five months of the year, for the first time since 1998, reports industry agency DSM Group. Imports in that period were worth $2.26 billion, that is, 17 percent less than in the same period of last year.

The main reason for the fall is the government's debt to participants in the supplemental medicinal guarantee program. According to DSM Group general director Alexander Kuzin, importers still have “significant supplies of goods made in 2006” in their warehouses.

The supplemental medicines program was launched in 2005. Its budget in 2006 was 29.09 billion rubles. The medicine prescribed under it cost 74 billion rubles, however. In November of last year, the 600 most expensive medicines were excluded from the program, lowering the number of medicines to 1633. This year, the program's budget is 34.9 billion rubles.

In 2006, medicine imports grew by 63 percent over the previous year. DSM Group predicts that the total market in Russia will grow by 10-12 percent this year in consumer prices (last year, that figure was 35 percent). The French Servier and British Glaxo SmithKline saw the greatest reductions in imports, by 27 and 33 percent, respectively.

Imports are expected to return to their previous levels after the crisis in the supplemental medicines program passes. Yury Krestinsky, director of the Ministry of Health and Social Development department of pharmaceuticals activity and regional and informational policy, predicted that import levels would be at their previous levels in the second half of this year.


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