Pharmaceutical market analyst Nikolay Bespalov said that there are no prerequisites for a real shortage of drugs from the leaked list of the Ministry of Health.
Photo: Maria CUAREMS
Medications for high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, antibiotics, and fever reducers—all of these medications were on the “potentially defective” (ie, in short supply) list. The list was compiled by a special commission of the Ministry of Health and came from the media. It also contains hydrogen peroxide, iodine and activated charcoal. In total – 97 positions.
For several months now, there have been local outages here and there. They are explained by logistical difficulties (in other words, “they did not deliver”). But does the appearance of such a list mean that the ministry itself admits that the problem could be more serious?
IT’S IN THE NAME
On Tuesday, January 24, the issue of a shortage of medicines was raised at a meeting of the President of the Russian Federation with members of the government. “Inspections testify to the shortage of certain medicines in pharmacies and the increase in their prices,” Vladimir Putin said. And he gave the floor to the coordinator of inspections, the head of the executive committee of the ONF, Mikhail Kuznetsov.
The expert said that many times it is not the total lack of necessary medicines. Ah… in his name. Both doctors and patients are used to certain commercial brands, mostly imported. With them now there can be interruptions, delays in deliveries. But at the same time, pharmacies almost always have drugs with the same active ingredient, Kuznetsov said. Only these are not promoted national trademarks.
It is necessary for people to learn more about our Russian medicines, the president concluded. He also gave instructions for cold and flu seasons to stock for sale more drugs than are in demand at that time. So that even with increased demand in pharmacies there is no temporary shortage.
The sensational document was issued solely for internal use by officials, so to speak, to solve organizational problems, Nikolay Bespalov, an independent analyst of the pharmaceutical market and director of development at RNC Pharma, told KP.RU. In May of last year, the Ministry of Health created a commission to monitor the situation with the availability of medicines and prevent their shortages, recalls the expert.
– This is logical and justified: the health authorities should work to identify problems in the drug market in order to take measures to solve them, – explains Nikolay Bespalov.
According to him, most of the time the cause of interruptions in the supply of medicines is logistics. Due to the sanctions, the traditional delivery routes had to be seriously changed. The transportation of raw materials and finished products from abroad began to require more time and money.
Of course, our country is striving to increase the production of domestic tablets. But their manufacture often requires imported substances, experts shrug. It will not be possible soon to establish large-scale production of its raw materials. And in any case, it will not be possible to completely solve this problem on our own. There are simply no natural substances in Russia. So you still have to bring it.
“WE DON’T WANT TO WORK AT LOSSES”
“Another reason for a possible shortage is the lack of profitability of producing cheap drugs,” continues Nikolay Bespalov. – We have a system of state regulation of prices of vital medicines. Manufacturers have long complained that marginal selling prices are so low that it is not profitable for them to produce pills.
That’s how it was before. But now, when headaches with the transportation of raw materials and other difficulties due to sanctions have increased, pharmaceutical companies threaten to actively exclude cheap drugs from their assortment. The Ministry of Health is obviously aware. And for this, penny pills like nitroglycerin, paracetamol, acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), etc. could appear on the list of potentially rare.
WHAT ABOUT HYDROGEN PEROXIDE?
Russia is conducting a Special Military Operation. But this circumstance does not affect the drug market, says Nikolay Bespalov.
– Taking into account the number of mobilized and those who were sent to participate in the SVO earlier, the share of drugs that the front needs for our pharmaceutical market is a drop in the ocean. In addition, most of the drugs on the list are still not in such high demand under military conditions. The only thing that could dramatically increase demand: hydrogen peroxide. It is widely used as an inexpensive antiseptic and hemostatic agent.
What about iodine and activated charcoal?
– We really have a problem with iodine. There are no large developed deposits on our territory now. And there is no industrial production of iodine in Russia. He was buried in the zero years. So we really are completely dependent on supplies from abroad. Activated carbon requires coconut raw materials, and imports are also needed here.
However, not everything is so bad – we have established supplies from China, so the disappearance of iodine and activated carbon is not really in danger for us.
What will happen next?
The adoption of the sensational document must be followed by measures to prevent shortages of the listed drugs. For example, the indexation of sales prices so that manufacturers do not stop producing cheap pills. Assistance in providing raw materials to national pharmaceutical companies, etc. The Ministry of Health ensures that problematic issues are being actively resolved.
“According to my data, there are still no real prerequisites for the drugs on the list to completely disappear in the near future (temporary interruptions are possible. – Ed.), – says Nikolai Bespalov. – We monitor: as a rule, drugs appear, albeit with a delay. And many times a more or less equivalent replacement can be found for a drug that is missing at a given time.
By the way, the situation with the antibiotic amoxiclav is beginning to improve, the expert notes. Last year there were disruptions around the world due to difficulties with the production of raw materials. Now the production and supply of the drug are improving.
Of course, our state takes certain steps to maintain drug availability. I would only like these measures to be systemic and radically solve the accumulated problems. And they did not become a temporary plugging of holes that crawl here and there, experts say.