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Alexander Lukashenko: Belarus should increase pharmaceutical exports
It is necessary to considerably reduce Belarus’ dependence on pharmaceutical imports and increase the exports of Belarusian medicines, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said at the government session held on 14 May to discuss the development of the domestic pharmaceutical industry.
A wise balance of imports and domestic products should be maintained, said the head of state.
“We have to teach our pharmaceutical industry and medicine to not only rapidly respond to epidemic threats but also to forestall panic, prevent prices for medications from skyrocketing, satisfy the nation’s demand for medications,” remarked Alexander Lukashenko. The advisability of the approach is determined by interests of Belarusian citizens, the need to protect their health and reduce the spending on medications. It is also necessitated by state interests: the need to save foreign currency, to spend the budget rationally, to support national producers, Alexander Lukashenko added.
The head of state reminded that the capacity of the Belarusian medications market is in excess of $600 million per annum. At present imported medications occupy almost 80% of the market “while in developed countries the ratio of 50 to 50 is considered as the optimal combination,” the President pointed out.
The state of affairs regarding the promotion of Belarusian medications onto foreign markets is even worse. It is a shame that the export of the entire national pharmaceutical industry is as low as $70-75 million, said Alexander Lukashenko. “It is also not appropriate to cover things up by the output growth rate of 110-111% while the share of domestic medications on the home market is under 20%. It is a trifle taking into account capabilities of Belbiopharm concern and vigorous consumer demand for such products”.
The President remarked that the prevalence of imported medications threatens the economy and the national security (there is a risk that there may be shortages of necessary medications for Belarusians).
Alexander Lukashenko gave an instruction to develop the production of drug substances in Belarus (at present only 49 out of 618 substances used by the Belarusian pharmaceutical industry are domestically produced).
Belarus-made pharmaceuticals should account for at least 50% of the Belarusian pharmaceutical market. Belarusian drugs should not become more expensive, while their quality should remain high, the head of state underlined.
The President gave an instruction to elaborate a pharmaceutical security strategy for Belarus to avoid heavy reliance on drug imports during epidemics and pandemics.
Alexander Lukashenko demanded to build up pharmaceutical exports. Belarus’ exports of medicines to Russia amount to about $40 million, while the Russian pharmaceutical market is estimated at $15 billion. This opens great opportunities for Belarusian exporters.
Apart from that, the President gave an instruction to thoroughly study the training of highly qualified pharmacologists in Belarus to improve the situation with human resources in the pharmaceutical industry.
The head of state also commissioned the State Control Committee with a task to carefully examine the procurement of foreign medicines and equipment. The relevant report should be submitted to the head of state by late May.