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Expanding ties with Russia in pharma sector

India and Russia have agreed to explore ways to expand bilateral cooperation in the pharma industry, including clinical trials of new drugs.

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said he had reached the agreement with his Russian counterpart Tatiana Golikova during their meeting on the sidelines of an international health conference in Moscow.

“Health officials from the two countries will meet either in New Delhi or Moscow to discuss pending issues, including mutual recognition of clinical trials of new medicines,” Mr. Azad told the Indian media in Moscow.

The Indian Health Minister visited Moscow on April 27-30 to attend the First Global Ministerial Conference on healthy lifestyles and non-communicable disease control, organised by the World Health Organisation.

Mr. Azad said he had conveyed to Ms. Golikova Indian pharma companies' complaints about delays in registering new drugs.

The Russian Minister suggested India and Russia sign an agreement on mutual recognition of clinical trials to reduce the time and cost of market entry for Indian pharmaceuticals in Russia and vice versa.

A new law on drug circulation in Russia that came into force last September requires foreign companies to conduct clinical trials of new drugs in Russia prior to their registration.

Clinical trials conducted outside Russia will be accepted only if they involve participation of Russian patients. At the same time, the new legislation allows for mutual recognition of drug trials on the basis of international agreements.

Russia is yet to sign any such agreement, even though Ms. Golikova said last month that her ministry was preparing one with the European Union.

India's pharmaceutical exports to Russia have doubled in the past five years, but still account for less than 6 per cent of the $18-billion Russian drugs market.

According to the first global status report on non-communicable diseases, heart disease, stroke and diabetes together cost the Indian economy $9 billion in 2005.


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