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Major Russian pharmaceutical companies stop production of life-saving drugs — lawmaker

December 22, 2014, 9:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW
According to the chairman of the State Duma health committee Sergey Kalashnikov, this comes due to a sharp increase in the dollar price for the substances which are bought abroad
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© Yury Belinsky/TASS

MOSCOW, December 22. /TASS/. Some 16 major Russian pharmaceutical companies have stopped the production of “the cheapest and the most essential drugs,” including antibiotics and fluids, the chairman of the State Duma health committee Sergey Kalashnikov said on Monday.

“This comes due to a sharp increase in the dollar price for the substances which are bought abroad,” Kalashnikov said, adding that the prime cost of medicines is now some three or four times higher than the actual price amid weakened ruble.

The members of the State Duma health committee as well as representatives of the Russian Health Ministry, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service and the Federal Tariff Service are due to focus on the situation at an urgent meeting later on Monday.

“The main goal is to develop a concept for work in emergency conditions to ensure uninterrupted access to medicines,” Kalashnikov said, explaining that the idea is to adjust prices for foreign-made life-saving drugs and resume the production of pharmaceutical substances in Russia.

The lawmaker in particular proposes that Russia should follow the example of India and Brazil and introduce a mechanism of mandatory licensing when “it is allowed to manufacture medicines, generics if a patent has not expired.” This concerns the “most expensive medicines” which are used to treat such diseases as cancer and AIDS, he said.

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