The principle behind Russia’s policy was to modernise the country’s pharmaceutical industry and cut dependence on foreign firms, and was initiated in 2010 by ex-prime minister Vladimir Putin, who pledged RUB120bn ($3.9bn) to bring home the manufacture of 50 per cent of all drugs by 2020.
Speaking at BIO in Chicago last week, the Director of the Department of Chemical Industries and Bioengineering Technologies at the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, Sergey Tsyb, re-enforced Putin’s words:
“The goal is to support the domestic innovation reaching 50 percent of localized production during the following five to seven years,” he said, “to make sure Russian citizens have access to quality medications that are affordable and adhere to current international standards.”
He continued to describe initiatives that would progress the policy, including the creation of six biopharma clusters “that bring together all necessary resources such as governmental support, quality education, large pharmacy chains, well-developed distribution systems, responsive local government and technological innovation.”
Furthermore, Tsyb stated that by the beginning of 2014, “all domestic companies will be manufacturing according to international GMP (good manufacturing practice) standards,” though he did not expand on details to how this was to be achieved.
Foreign Investment in Russia
Since Pharma 2020 was announced, there have been moves by several Big Pharma players to get in on a market that was valued at $21.4bn in 2012, according to the website Modernrussia.
Companies have been following a mixture of investment and collaborations with domestic firms. Last year Japanese firm Takeda invested $96m in a new facility in Yaroslavl just weeks before Bayer Healthcare entered the market with a partnership with Medsintez. GSK, Teva and AstraZeneca too have also made significant investments and partnership deals in the last couple of years.
Russia is “looking to rely on experience of our international partners to provide quality, safe drugs to Russian citizens,” said Tsyb.
He continued: “We are here to facilitate new collaborations and remind our international colleagues that the Russian pharma sales environment is healthy and we are open for collaboration.”
However, any foreign company will have to work side-by-side with the Government as any unfair competition will be strictly monitored in order to support local manufacturing.