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Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the Government Presidium on March,31

 Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the Government Presidium on March,31

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.

I will begin with the news that everyone here is no doubt aware of. Another crime has been committed, this time in Dagestan. It was a terrorist attack, people have been injured. It cannot be ruled out that one and the same group is responsible for both attacks [in Moscow and in Dagestan]. I will not offer my opinion because there is nothing left to say. Everything has been said following the tragic events in the Moscow metro.

I will only add that it does not matter to us in which part of the country such crimes are committed, or the nationality, or religion of the victims. We regard them all as crimes committed against Russia.

Security and law-enforcement services are working to solve these crimes. Today we must draft a resolution on assistance to the victims and their families. This should be done in accordance with the parameters formulated in the previous resolution on assistance to the victims of the terrorist attack in the Moscow metro.

Let's go around and share the latest information we have on current issues. Ms Golikova (Tatyana Golikova, Minister of Healthcare and Social Development), the resolution on state regulation of essential medicines will come into force on April 1. It creates a mechanism for restraining the growth of medicine prices - at least I hope that your ministry will fulfil this task. In other words, we should have clearly defined sale prices and a fixed markup.

How do you propose to achieve this goal?

Tatyana Golikova: Mr Putin, colleagues.

Acting in accordance with the government resolution on the need to register the prices of medicines on the list of essential drugs, we have almost completed the work outlined for the first quarter of 2010.

This does not mean that we will stop registering medicine prices if producers request such registration. As of March 30, that is yesterday evening, producers had requested state registration for 6,018 medicines. We have registered 5,526, are preparing to register another 248, and have refused to register 638. Of those 638, requests for 588 medicines have been resubmitted.

The list of essential medicines, which came into force on January 1, 2010, includes 500 international unpatented medicines.

As it stands we have registered 98% of these medicines, which is very close to 100%.

This means that after April 1 - when the sale of essential medicines with unregistered prices will be prohibited - we should have no shortage of such drugs.

However, I would like to draw your attention to the following: the federal government represented by the Healthcare Ministry has the right to register producers' sale prices. In fact, I have just reported on this. In accordance with the government decision, the Federal Tariff Service (FTS) has established the methods how regions are to determine wholesale and retail markups on the producer prices we register.

Unfortunately, in accordance with the FTS monitoring, one of Russia's regions, Ingushetia, has not adopted a regulatory act on markups. We have appealed to the republic's leadership and the relevant department more than once [to comply with our requests], but so far in vain.

We don't know yet how these markups will operate in the regions because this is the first time we have undertaken such a challenging task. In fact, we plan to join forces with the FTS in April to monitor the operation of this new system in all Russian regions.

We have instructed the regions, which are to submit their reports on April 10, to post rules for pricing and the prices from the list of essential medicines sold in each respective region on the Internet and to make this information available in drugstores.

We have developed a special programme, which is quite simple, and posted in on the Internet. It is the same for all regions. Any region can use it to inform their people.

However, as we have recently said during a meeting with Mr Sobyanin (Sergei Sobyanin, Chief of the Government's Executive Office), we will not have any federal bodies in the regions with the power to control prices and markups until September 1, when the law on the marketing of medicines comes into force. We can only monitor prices; nothing else. We discussed with Mr Sobyanin the possibility of granting an authorised agency, the Federal Tariff Service, the power to control producer prices and markups until the law comes into force. We would like to ask you to take this decision, if this is possible.

And lastly, some market analysts forecast a rise in medicine prices and are adding fuel to the fire in the market segment of medicines with unregulated prices that are not on the essential drugs list. We are doing our best to prevent this, to continue to control this segment. However, I would like to take this opportunity to tell all market participants that such expert opinions are just that - an opinion.

Vladimir Putin: First, every region must submit a report on what has been done to prepare for this stage in the process. These reports can be sent via fax or the Internet. We need to know how they will determine markups, what information will be displayed and where, how they will regulate prices, how they will keep people informed, and what it all will look like. This is the first point I'd make.

Second, please prepare a draft resolution empowering the Federal Tariff Service to oversee the situation. Do this without delay, please.

Incidentally, how is the treatment going for the injured in Moscow hospitals?

Tatyana Golikova: As you know, 36 people were killed immediately in the terrorist attacks, and three more died in hospitals. This number remains unchanged. A total of 19 people were treated outpatient, and 82 people are being treated in hospitals. As we've said, some people are discharged from hospitals and some come to get medical help. They come by themselves or are taken to the hospital by ambulance.

As for the logistics, I would like to repeat that Moscow clinics and federal clinics, where the victims of the tragedy are being treated, have enough drugs, supplies and blood products. We welcome voluntary blood donations, but we can manage without them in this situation. The blood donated now will be used in the future since it will have to be quarantined for up to six months.

Regarding today's events, we have been in contact with the government of Dagestan. They didn't make any requests to transfer victims of this terrorist attack to Moscow hospitals. We are considering sending our medical workers to that region to provide expert assistance. We are in touch with the government of Dagestan and will keep you updated on our efforts.

And I also have a request. We provided federal funds to Russian regions for emergencies. We will check to see if any of this money is left, and, if so, I request that you authorise that it be used now for these recent emergencies.

Vladimir Putin: Clearly these funds must be used now. If they are not enough, we will provide more.


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