Supplies of imported medicines: it is too early to talk about serious interruptions in deliveries

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Supplies of imported medicines: it is too early to talk about serious interruptions in deliveries
Supplies of imported medicines: it is too early to talk about serious interruptions in deliveries
11 March, 10:33Economy
Pharmaceuticals has probably become an exception in the sanctions list: leading foreign pharmaceutical companies will continue to supply drugs to Russia. This applies primarily to patients with rare (orphan) diseases.

Irina Mishina

The stock of medicines and substances for their manufacture in the country has been formed. This was stated in the Alliance of Pharmaceutical Associations of Russia. “The pharmaceutical industry is operating as usual, there is no need to panic. There is enough of everything: both medicines and the substances from which they are made. Factories don't stop. We do not expect any negative changes in the near future”, - Victoria Presnyakova, the head of the Alliance of Pharmaceutical Associations, reassured the patients. "Stocks of medicines from the list of vital drugs will last up to a year", - the Ministry of Industry and Trade confirmed.

Deliveries of medicines are not only a profit, but also an image

But in addition to paracetamol, iodine and analgin, there are also drugs for patients with rare and chronic diseases. We can assure you right away: diabetic patients will be able to freely receive insulin. Our editorial office has received a letter from Yannis Mallis, Corporate Vice President of OOO Novo-Nordisk for Russia and Belarus . It states: “As a pharmaceutical company, Novo-Nordisk is responsible for ensuring the supply of life-saving drugs for patients with diabetes, rare diseases and obesity, and we will do our best to ensure that such supplies continue in Russia”.

One thing needs to be understood here. In addition to the profit that international pharmaceutical companies receive on the Russian market, it is also about their image. Many manufacturers understand this, and do everything in order not to abandon Russian patients. Thus, the director of the Genome Patient Care Center, Elena Khvostikova , told NI that she had received a letter from the general director of the French company Sanofi in the countries of the Eurasian region, in which she was informed about the “availability and supply of Sanofi medicines and vaccines in connection with the current situation. The letter also states that the Sanofi Vostok production complex in the Oryol region, which produces the entire line of modern insulins, continues to operate as planned.

“I received similar letters from other pharmaceutical manufacturers with whom we cooperate - in particular, from the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the Japanese Tokeda”, - Yelena Khvostikova, director of the Genom Patient Assistance Center, told Novye Izvestia. - In terms of the supply of medicines for patients with rare and chronic diseases, in general, everything is fine. The only problems that arise here are related to logistics. No sanctions were announced against drugs, and how can one refuse patients? As far as I know, the search for supply chains is underway. Belarus is ready to help, Turkey also does not close its delivery channels”, - Yelena Khvostikova said. She also added that the supply of medicines for patients with rare diseases has been formed "for a year and a half".

Delivery is the main problem

But interruptions may occur with imported raw materials, which are used by pharmaceutical companies. We turned to the Association of International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers. They agreed that up to 75% of Russia's raw materials come from Asian countries, in particular from India. The share of European countries accounts for only 17-19% of raw materials. The Association did not deny the problems that arose with the delivery of raw materials for the manufacture of medicines. “Supply chains are now disrupted for many. We are looking for alternative delivery methods, in particular by land, by trucks. We cannot give any more comments yet, the situation is not simple, but we are looking for ways out, ”the Association of International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers explained to us.

“For the sake of fairness, it must be said that not all drugs are absolutely stable. There is, for example, Zolgensma, a drug that is administered to children with SMA, spinal muscular atrophy. The temperature regime must be strictly observed there, during delivery the temperature must not be lower than minus 80 degrees, otherwise it is not safe to enter it. This is where manufacturers, suppliers, and patients get nervous. The cost of this already very expensive drug, given the current problems with transportation, may also increase,” says Elena Khvostikova.

Count all and everyone

We all remember how, with the participation of the Ministry of Health, we created numerous registers of patients with various diseases. At least, considerable funds were spent on this from the budget. Now these registries should theoretically help to calculate all patients who need certain drugs.

“Based on these registers, the government must now calculate everything quantitatively. Because otherwise some patients may simply die. For example, after placing a stent as a result of a heart attack, the patient must take certain drugs for 12 months so that there is no thrombosis and that this stent functions normally. All this should be in the registry of cardiac patients. There is also a register of oncological patients, which clearly indicates which chemotherapy is indicated for which patient and in what quantity. The CMI system theoretically should have data on each patient with chronic diseases. This is where the “digitalization” of our health care, on which millions have been spent, will have to show itself. We have a whole Institute of Health Informatization, which now has to raise these patient registries and calculate everything”, - a member of the Public Council for the Protection of Patients’ Rights under Roszdravnadzor, Professor Alexey Starchenko told NI. He also added that Siemens, a supplier of medical equipment, has notified the continuation of the supply of medical equipment. So there should be no interruptions with the equipment used in operating rooms and during diagnostics.

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