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''In the USSR, we produced 21,000 tonnes of medicinal substances a year, today we do less than 500 tonnes!''

By Inna Serova

Participants of a press conference dedicated to the upcoming 3 rd all-Russian GMP conference 'Russia and World. Pharmaceutical Market Growth Potential Management' told about prospects of development of Tatarstan pharmaceutics on 25 August. Realnoe Vremya's correspondent asked a question that concerns the majority of medication consumers: if the plans for the transition from packaging imported medicines into the local package to real production of Russian pharmaceutical products will come true…

One's own pill is bigger

''GMP in the international practice is a set of rules and requirements to control the production and circulation of medicines,'' Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Tatarstan Aleksey Savelchev explained the mysterious abbreviation and announced, ''The name of the conference turned out to be very good for Tatarstan 'Russia and World. Pharmaceutical Market Growth Potential Management'. It says that Russia is a part of the world, while Tatarstan is integrated into this system… That's to say, when we talk about the pharmaceutical market of Russia, we talk about Tatarstan's potential.

''Older people remember such a phrase as 'Council for Mutual Economic Assistance countries' and that in the Soviet Union there was a kind of specialisation, and medicines were mainly made in Western and Eastern Europe,'' Deputy Minister of Health of Tatarstan Farida Yarkayeva approached the topic of the press conference in a very roundabout way. ''It resulted in that with the dissolution of the USSR, the pharmaceutical industry in Russia started to revive almost from scratch… It has made a huge breakthrough within two decades, and now Russia is 14 th biggest pharmaceutical market in the world. In 2017, the volume of the pharmaceutical market in the Russian Federation reached 1,632 trillion rubles, and it's grown by 8% a year. While the volume of the Tatarstan pharmaceutical market has totalled 34 billion…

Yarkayeva emphasised that even if imported medicines still prevailed in the Russian market in monetary terms, the share of Russian drugs is just about 30%. In physical terms, more Russian medicines are sold anyway – 62% of the total amount. The deputy minister thinks it's the direct evidence of availability of Russian drugs: ''Russian medicines turn out cheaper.'' According to the regional Ministry of Health, Tatarstan is ahead of all Russia – our consumption of Russian drugs is 35% of the total volume of the pharmaceutical market (in rubles).

One step from petrochemistry to medicine production

Director of Kazan Federal University's Research and Education Centre for Pharmacy Yury Shtyrlin gave to understand the republic's best scientific power worked hard to make a step forward and ahead in the Russian and international pharmaceutical markets. He said the university ''created the full infrastructure to develop innovative medicines and lots of new drugs enough for clinical tests would be produced in a test factory on Belomorskaya Street.

And director of the Department of Coordination of Development of Petrochemical Complex and Safety of Fuel and Energy Complex of the Tatarstan Ministry of Industry and Trade Marina Ilyina told it's the time when the focus on the development of industry of Tatarstan, which used to be on petrochemistry, is shifting to high-tech sectors, particularly pharmaceuticals. And she reminded the republic has recently taken on the fulfilment of FarmMedPolis RT project designed to attract new residents of the pharmaceutical industry to Tatarstan.

By the way, FarmMedPolis RT project isn't a public enterprise as the firm's name insinuates. FarmMedPolis RT PLC, which has been chaired by 29-year-old graduate of Kazan Juridical Institute of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, former aide of Aznakayevo and Almetyevsk urban prosecutor, former assistant of the Tatarstan president's administration and current head of the Tatarstan SME's Cluster Development and Cooperation Cluster Albert Gaifullin since 23 August, was founded by two individuals. According to, the Tatarstan president's former aide Rustem Magdeyev and honourable doctor of Tatarstan and Russian, director of the N. Semashko Public Health National R&D Institute Ramil Khabriyev.

The problem is how to make really Russian medicines

''There is an opinion in Russia, and Tatarstan isn't an exception, that the production of so-called Russian drugs comes to unpackaging and packaging imported feedstock. Is it true? If so, can we hope the situation will dramatically change when new pharmaceutic market residents are attracted to the republic?'' Realnoe Vremya's correspondent asked the press conference participants.

''When we talk about the pharmaceutical industry of the Republic of Tatarstan, it's really relative,'' admitted Aleksey Savelchev. ''The production is included into the world process… 60% are Russian products today. And the balance of substances manufactured by Russian and imported feedstock today is about fifty-fifty…''

''The popular opinion is perfectly correct,'' he determinately interrupted Deputy Minister Yury Shtyrlin. ''In the USSR, we produced 21,000 tonnes of medicinal substances a year, today we do less than 500 tonnes!''

''The task today is to switch to the production of substances,'' Savelchev tried to make the discussion of the topic positive. ''There will be probably fewer medicines, but the production of substances will grow…''

''A huge number of names low-tonnage chemical products will need to be provided, while they are all unprofitable,'' Shtyrlin said to his optimistic opponent.

''Only about ten tonnes of substances are made today in Russia, and 25% of them are manufactured by Russian enterprises,'' Farida Yarkayev contributed her a fly in the ointment, ''and only about 10% of medicine sold in Russia are made of Russian feedstock.''


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