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Russia pushes plan to buy domestically produced drugs

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been warning drugmakers for years that they need to have Russian manufacturing capabilities within the country if they want to sell to Russian consumers. Now that the country is a member of the World Trade Organization, the government is starting to put some support to that position.  

Government agencies have proposed that Russian states no longer be allowed to buy drugs from foreign producers, except Belarus, if there are at least two official alternatives made by domestic manufacturers, according to PharmaTimes, citing the Russian business publication, Vedomosti.

Two years ago Putin supported funding for the domestic drug and device industries and said the country should produce 90% of Russia's essential drugs by 2020. That spurred a number of Western drugmakers to initiate manufacturing plans for the fast-growing market. Some, like Novartis ($NVS) and AstraZeneca ($AZN), are building plants there. Some, like German Bayer, are taking the partnership route, but it all boils down to being able to meet any mandates about manufacturing locally if that is what it takes to supply the emerging Russian market.  

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According to statistics cited by PharmaTimes, Russia is still a distance from Putin's goal of making it drug-independent. In 2011, about 85% of drugs bought through state tenders were manufactured outside Russia, as were about 70% of drugs used in Russian hospitals.


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