On December 8, the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation hosted a round table on the topic “COVID-19 as a test of the strength of the country's medical supply system.”
The event was organized by the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Development of Economy and Corporate Social Responsibility in conjunction with the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Security and Cooperation with Public Monitoring Commissions.
The First Deputy Chairman of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian on Development of Economy and Corporate Social Responsibility Yevgeny Nifantyev
began the discussion with the thesis that this year two serious blows had been inflicted on the medical supply system in the country, namely, the two waves of coronavirus.
“The system withstood the first blow quite well; in March there were no problems with medical supply, except for a single medicinal drug – paracetamol. We must thank the regulators and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, as well as all participants in the pharmaceutical industry: manufacturers, distributors, as well as pharmacy chains. All of them made concerted efforts and worked as a single mechanism operating 24/7,” he said.
The Chairman of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Security and Cooperation with Public Supervisory Commissions Alexander Vorontsov
continued the discussion by stating that drug provision was directly related to safety and security concerns. Public monitoring commissions regularly monitor the situation with the availability of all necessary medicines among persons in prison.
“We are in contact with representatives of the medical services of the law enforcement agencies responsible for prisoners. Now they do not experience any specific problems, all the necessary medicines are in stock and are regularly purchased – the mechanism is working,” said the social activist.
The Secretary General of the Russian Scientific Medical Society of Physicians, Chief Freelance Pulmonologist of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation in the Central Federal District Andrey Malyavin made a presentation on the coronavirus infection from a scientific point of view. The expert noted that there were many misconceptions about the virus. There are a large number of “false” medicines for treatment that do not help in any way, and sometimes they are even toxic and remain banned in other countries. This also applies to the unjustified prescription of antibiotics.
On a separate note, the expert outlined the problem of unfair competition, fake information, especially on the Internet, low-quality research, in particular, homeopathic medicines, consumer fraud, as well as administrative and financial pressure to promote certain medicines.
The Director of the Department for Development of the Pharmaceutical and Medical Industry of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Alexey Alekhin
noted that over the past six months there was a major breakthrough in terms of the availability of medicines. However, there were still technological solutions not yet available in the Russian Federation due to several reasons.
The Director of the Department for the Digital Labeling of Goods and Legalization of Product Turnover of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Yekaterina Priezhaeva is confident that today the work of medical supply system has been normalized in the country. It was decided to transfer the system from a permission mode to a notification one, that is, it became possible to carry out the movement of medicinal drugs in a simplified manner. She also noted that the labeling of medicines was a particularly pressing issue.
The Director General of the Association of Russian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Viktor Dmitriev touched upon the topic of information policy.
“We have all faced an aggressive information policy regarding the fact that Russian medicines are worse than foreign ones. There should be a correct, adequate reaction to such fake messages. We must provide a plan of action to competently counter false information. We need to unite and move forward,” he said.
The Chairman of the Board of the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of the Eurasian Economic Union Stanislav Naumov spoke about the need to increase citizens' confidence in Russian medicinal drugs.
The Director for Industrial Policy of the Association of International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Alexander Martynenko spoke about the specifics of medicinal drug provision before and during the pandemic.
“The pandemic has served as a catalyst for positive developments in the pharmaceutical sector. For example, the time frames for the approval procedure have been reduced and the digitalization of processes has accelerated,” he explained.
The Director General of Vertex JSC Georgy Pobelyansky raised the issue of directive reduction of prices for life-supporting medicines. According to the expert, it is important to calculate their cost and provide margins to producers.
Igor Bakhmetyev, Commercial Director of STADA, in his speech focused on unfair advertising of over-the-counter medicines.
The Chief Clinical Pharmacologist of Moscow Maria Zhuravleva noted that experts were not denying the role of foreign medicines, however, high-quality Russian alternatives were in no way inferior in terms of quality, efficiency and safety.
The President of the All-Russian public organization ‘League of Defenders of Patients’ Alexander Seversky noted that the pandemic itself was not so much a problem as the panic connected with it. In the normal period, around 140,000 people got seasonal infections. Mortality rates are now also not critical. However, panic increases the burden on business and consumption.
According to Yevgeny Nifantyev, today a powerful volunteer movement has been formed, providing assistance to those who need medicines; those who cannot leave the house and buy them on their own. “The current situation is a test of our strength. During the first wave we were lucky – everything worked quite well. Now we have a few setbacks but we understand the problem at hand. It needs to be solved in a consolidated way: with the help of patients, the pharmaceutical industry and medical communities,” he concluded.