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Leading pharmaceutical markets now making more generic drugs and fewer patented medicines

Domestically produced pills likely to save money

Leading pharmaceutical markets now making more generic drugs and fewer patented medicines

In making effective analogues of imported medicines, the domestic medical industry is aiding import substitution. We’ve studied how production of foreign drugs’ copies saves budgetary money. Cancer, tuberculosis, bronchial asthma, and diabetes are little guided by lifestyle. The number of patients suffering from these conditions is rising, with cancer, heart problems and respiratory diseases being the main culprits. At present, drugs to treat these conditions are provided free of charge in Belarus, with local analogues just as effective as foreign drugs, while being less expensive. In this way, many more patients can be treated promptly.

Production of import substitution drugs remains a priority for Belarusian pharmacology

“The creation of local analogue drugs is a global trend,” notes the Deputy Director of the Health Ministry’s Department of Pharmaceutical Industry, Victor Shein, who also heads the Economic and Marketing Department. He asserts, “The trend is supported by the recommendations of the World Health Organisation and logics of national market development. The share of Belarusian drugs is growing, reaching half of all those sold domestically, saving the Republican budget from the burden of paying for imports. Making generic drugs saves money. In introducing new domestic analogues to the market, we’re reducing the budgetary load considerably. Over the past two years, a Belarusian company specialising in hi-tech production of generic medicines, including preparations for cancer therapy, has helped save over $10m. All facilities — which are mastering production of generic drugs — cut imports of medicines by  40-60 percent. We buy ingredients from such world leaders as China, India and European states, making medicines to improve the quality of life and prolong health.”

Between 2012 and 2017, over 35 major investment projects are being realised across the pharmaceutical industry; 25 relate to drugs for the treatment of oncological and other acute diseases, and are sharply in demand. As a result of modernising the pharmaceutical branch, we’ve achieved high quality. By 2017, we aim to have ten more projects completed. Belarusian products are exported to 29 countries, with the geography of sales annually expanding. The export of drugs to Saudi Arabia is now in the pipeline.

Khimfarmsintez Scientific-Production Centre at work

“Belarus is attractive to investors in the field of analogue production,” continues Mr. Shein. “A pharmaceutical cluster has been established in the Vitebsk Region, aimed at staff training, modern infrastructure and innovative medicine development. Cluster co-operation makes it possible to attract foreign investors and receive state support via innovative funds. We have further targets: so far, a single cluster has been created in Belarus, while Russia already runs over 25.”

A draft legislative act is now being prepared, aimed at creating attractive conditions for investors in the pharmaceutical branch. New production facilities are needed and, no doubt, joint efforts at various levels will help make our drugs more efficient and available.

By Olga Kovalevskaya

Photo BelTA & Sergey LOZYUK
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