National producers entered the market with nearly a dozen of biosimilars

Denis Manturov

Denis Manturov told the correspondent of “Expert” magazine how the Ministry for Industry & Trade continues to work towards technical upgrading of the Russian industry, about current progress in the key industrial areas, about import substitution and expansion to global markets.

In his interview, RF Minister for Industry & Trade specifically highlighted the pharmaceutical sector.

Within the global pharmaceutical and biotechnological sectors, Russia holds not quite an enviable position yet. As a rule, everything boils down to sampling the donated blood by the foreigners and accessing our patients to conduct the clinical tests of substances developed abroad.  Does your Ministry has a vision how to move ahead within these value chains and to leverage this process?

It is hard to accept these assertions; nowadays, biotechnologies in Russia are of the key pharmaceutical growth drivers. Look at the success of the domestic pharmaceutical companies over the last two years. Nearly a dozen of biosimilars of expensive medicines has entered the market. In the segment “Seven high-cost nosologies”, the Russian suppliers were able to take up over a third of the market that is more than 15 billion rubles.

Referring back to the issue of import substitution: the results are plain to see. In the context of a steady market growth, we do not only retain the market presence of our pharmacists both in monetary terms and in-kind, but in terms of the vital medicines 76% of the market is covered by the Russian producers following the results of nine to ten months. Recollect how much excitement and different articles were around this subject? However, we proved: when we get involved, we are sure to achieve a result. A number of producers already has innovative medicines they enter the foreign markets with and gain solid positions there.

Today the domestic pharmaceutical companies run clinical tests abroad as well as conclude agreements for supply of medicines to other countries. That is not just EEC (Eurasian Economic Community) countries, but also non-CIS countries – Brazil, South Africa, North African countries and so on. The Russian vaccines are supplied for healthcare system needs across the globe. Recently, the market of Iran was opened for supply of the anti-flu vaccine.

Do we have an easy access to the foreign markets?

Not always, however, with regard to the competitive price/efficiency advantages they have to provide an access for us. At a time when we lacked own medicines we also opened the market: you are welcome to enter our market and treat our people. Over time, we started producing our own competitive medicines, and in certain positions even better as compared to the foreign ones.

Still even now, we have many foreign producers

A foreigner stands for an export supply by import. Moreover, if a foreigner localized the production here – no questions at all. Irrespective who is a beneficiary. For us it is important the production to be deployed on the territory of Russia.

How is it possible to trace and check in the pharmaceutical sector whether they are actually localized?

There is nothing complicated here. The first phase – the finished pharmaceutical products arrive, then you pack them into the Russian packaging. The second phase – production of a medicine using a foreign substance (it mainly takes place around the world, not only in our country). The fact is that the core substance producers are China and India. And the third phase of full cycle – substance production.

The medicines have the main added value in R&D. Are the research drawn over here? 

There are different formats for implementing the projects, even with the public support. There are commercial projects where the Russian companies acquire non-competed R&D that appear to be at different stages – preclinical, clinical. The Big Pharma from time to time performs inventory of the related developments. If they pursue a certain direction and are willing to be preserved in this segment, they might dispose of something, while our companies, on the contrary, are interested in such medicines. Actually, this is a kind of bilateral transfer. The Big Pharma takes our developments in some areas and, vice versa, we take from Big Pharma. Among other things, we subsidize costs associated with such acquisitions.