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Key Takeaways of the Semashko Russian Pharmaceutical Forum

On May 17-18, N.A. Semashko Russian Pharmaceutical Forum took place in St. Petersburg. The Forum traditionally serves as the main platform for Russia’s pharmaceutical market to meet and discuss the most burning and pressing issues of the pharmaceutical industry.

The Forum brought together the representatives of the government and professional associations, Federation Council, State Duma, Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, Russian Ministry of Health, FSI “SID & GP” of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, FSI “Scientific Centre for Expert Evaluation of Medicinal Products” of the Russian Ministry of Health, FSSI “N.A. Semashko National Research Institute of Public Health”, Union of Professional Pharmaceutical Organizations, Association of the Russian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of the Eurasian Economic Union, AIPM.

The business community was represented by manufacturing companies, distributors, and pharmacy chains, including Pharmacy Chain 36.6, LifeScan, Active Component JSC, Alfasigma Rus, Binnopharm Group, Generium, STADA CIS, RIGLA Pharmacy Chain, R-Pharm, Union of Professional Pharmaceutical Organizations, Pharmstandard, Akrikhin, Protek, Evalar, Bayer, Sun Pharma, Servier, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, BIOCAD, Gedeon Richter, Johnson & Johnson, Zambon Pharma, KRKA Pharma, Chiesi Pharmaceuticals, Merck group, Merz Pharma, Novartis Pharma, Polysan, Reckitt Benckiser, Sberbank, Teva, Roche Moscow, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, AbbVie Inc and many others.

For the first time, the event was held with support of the FSI “State Institute of Drugs and Good Practices”, Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, who acted as an ideologue of the renewed concept and expanded programme of the Forum.

The Forum partners are: Promomed, LifeScan, IQVIA, DSM Group, Kontakt InterSearch Russia, Tekhnologii Doveria, Moscow Pharmaceutical Society Lidings, NC Logistic, Zdravcity, Novus Capital.

Two significant cooperation agreements were signed at the Forum.

Viktor Yanko, Managing Director of the Trinity Events Group, and Vladislav Shestakov, Director of the State Institute of Drugs and Good Practices, Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, signed an agreement on strategic cooperation between Trinity Events Group and State Institute of Drugs and Good Practices. Within the framework of the agreement, the parties act as strategic partners for preparing and organising the Semashko Russian Pharmaceutical Forum and will strive for extension and reinforcement of the partnership in the future.

Vladislav Shestakov, Director, FSI “SID & GP”, Russian Ministry of Drugs and Good Practices, “The idea of holding the Forum that would bring together representatives of leading regulatory establishments of the Russian Federation, as well as those of pharmaceutical companies and industry communities, appeared a long time ago. Under the current conditions, it is ever so relevant to create such an interactive platform. Thus, when our colleagues from the Trinity Events company, who are, since this year, the organizers of the Russian Pharmaceutical Forum, came up with a proposal for cooperation, we made a counterproposal to revise the concept and ideology of the event, expanding its programme, as well as advanced the idea of the necessity to rename the Forum”.

 

 
The Eurasian Academy of Good Practices signed a cooperation agreement with the PQE Eurasia, an international consulting services company present in 27 countries. For more than 20 years, PQE has been supporting global manufacturers of medicines and medical products offering solutions for the quality assurance.

Yuri Sandler, Regional Director, PQE EAEU, and Irina Spichak, Executive Director, Eurasian Academy of Good Practices took part in the signing ceremony. Director, PQE India, Mahesh Jagtap, and Director, PQE China, Miao Wang, gave their welcoming speeches virtually.

Under the agreement, the parties will cooperate in expert, educational, and outreach activities. In particular, it is planned to exchange knowledge and technology, including within the implementation of educational programmes by the academy with the support by the PQE speakers, as well as to hold joint business international events.
 

 
The first day of the Forum commenced with the plenary session “Health Protection under the New Conditions”. During the first part of the session, “Best Practices of Pharmaceutical Companies Introduced Under the Sanctions”, directors of the largest pharmaceutical companies discussed the mechanisms of ensuring the sustainability of the pharmaceutical market and drug availability, and talked about the current priorities of the healthcare system in the field of drug provision.

Viktor Dmitriev, Chairman of the Public Council under the Federal Service for Surveillance in Healthcare, Director General, Association of the Russian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, “The current challenges set up three crucial tasks to us. Firstly, we are bound to ensure the price and stock affordability for our patients. Secondly, we have to sustain the cost-effectiveness of manufacturing, in order to preserve the tax base, jobs, and ultimate output. Thirdly, we should stick to the guarantees given by the state”. 

The second part of the session, “Anti-Crisis Measure in the Industry Regulation. Legislative aspects”, featured a dialogue between the regulator and the industry, a discussion on anti-crisis regulatory measures including legislative support to healthcare development under the new conditions. Russian Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko and Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov welcomed the Forum participants. Officials of the State Duma, Russian Ministry of Health, Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, Federal Anti-Monopoly Service of Russia, Union of Professional Pharmaceutical Organizations were there among the speakers.

Dmitry Galkin, Director of the Department for Pharmaceutical and Medical Industry Development, Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, “Since the pandemic, we have been set up for developing the stock. Apart from the technology and scientific expertise, we have quite a good financial cushion. There are massive opportunities for the cross-sectoral cooperation, as well as various options for substitution both in terms of the outer outline with a large number of partners in various jurisdictions and in terms of inner substitution – not only for drugs, production phases, and APIs, but also for excipients, raw materials, components and means of production”.

The other session addressed the government tender procurement and pricing trends. The spotlight was turned on localization of manufacturing and government preferences.

Mikhail Stepanov, Director General, IRWIN, “The public procurement is quickly catching up with the commercial market, and its growth is much larger – 15% compared to the last year, against 3% growth of the commercial market. In addition, the public procurement is very well structured. If large companies occupy more of this market, it will be easier for them to invest more in the development of innovative drugs and generics, as well as in the development of production, logistics, delivery, and other areas. The main driver is the consolidation of the market”.

At the session devoted to the development of the retail segment of the pharmaceutical industry in the new economic environment, the participants discussed issues related to sustaining financial stability, liquidity crisis risk, legislative initiatives for retail, as well as the evolution of relations between suppliers, manufacturers, and pharmacies.

Sergei Yeskin, Development Director, Pulse pharmaceutical company, “The entire product supply chain and insurance and bank guarantee scheme no longer function in a proper manner. Manufacturers failed to insure their risks with distributors properly, while distributors could not have the required amount of bank guarantees associated with delays. It resulted into a number of products, especially relating to the vital and essential medicines, being loss-making”.

At the end of the first day of the Forum, participants could attend one of the two panel discussions, “Marketing Strategies in the Promotion of Medicines. E-commerce – What Are the New Rules of the Game in the Present and Future?” and “Brainstorm by HR Directors in the Pharmaceutical Industry: Future Trends”.

The second day of the Forum opened with a plenary session in commemoration of academician Nikolai Semashko, moderated by the scientific director of the FSSI “Semashko National Public Health Research Institute” Ramil Khabriev. The participants recalled historical milestones in the development of healthcare, in particular the provision of medicines to the population of Russia in the 1920s and international cooperation in the production of penicillin in the USSR, and discussed the relevance of the Semashko principle, i.e. unity of management.

During the analytical session devoted to the main trends and projected growth of the pharmaceutical market in Russia and globally, experts turned to the analysis of the current market landscape and important changes in recent months, considered assumptions and hypotheses on the development of the pharmaceutical market in the Russian Federation, and tried to answer the question of what the main factors to impact the investors’ focus shift are.

Razia Solodova, Head of the Pharmaceutical and Medical Industry Economy & Analysis Division, FSI “SID & GP”, Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, “We monitor the vital and essential drugs list on a daily basis, keeping a close watch on the drug availability and stock in every city of Russia. Yet, we do not observe any tremendous change, so there is no drug unavailability nowadays. We evaluate the situation as a stable one”.

The session “Patient-Centric Pharma – a Myth or Reality?” saw the discussion on providing citizens with preferential medicines, discussed the issues of ethics, compliance, and deontology in the relations between patient, medical, and business communities, and presented successfully implemented joint projects by patient organizations and pharmaceutical companies. A special attention was paid to the topics of improving the quality of life of patients, pricing issues, as well as the strategy of preventive immunization development.

Yuri Zhulev, Co-chair, Russian Patients Association, “There are difficulties for a number of foreign pharmaceutical companies in the implementation of patient programs. But we hope that this is a temporary situation, and patient organizations will remain a priority of all companies – regardless of whether they are Russian or foreign”.

The next panel discussion covered the drug supply strategy in Russia. A look at the current scale of availability of innovative and generic drugs from pharmaceutical companies, regulators and patient communities”. During the discussion, experts talked about the prospects of reforming the drug supply system in the Russian Federation, the introduction of innovative contract models, and also discussed value-oriented approaches in drug provision.

Ramil Khabriev, Scientific Director of the N.A. Semashko National Research Institute of Public Health, “The availability of medicines is the most important condition for ensuring the quality and effectiveness of medical care. The restriction of accessibility for the majority of the population has a negative impact on healthcare figures, does not allow for effective control of chronic diseases, increases the frequency and duration of hospitalization, and also leads to an increase in the costs of the healthcare system.”

 

 
The experts of the session “The R&D Market as a Status Indicator of the Russian Pharmaceutical Industry: Prospects for Development” made presentations on the main challenges and opportunities, including questions about resources for innovative developments, the shortage of innovations, support programmes, as well as prospects, partnership, market strengths and, of course, pricing.

Vadim Tarasov, PhD (Pharmaceutical Sciences), Head of the Department of Pharmacology of the Institute of Pharmacy, Director of the Institute of Translational Medicine and Biotechnology of the I. M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Ministry of Health of Russia, “Taking into account grants and other financing, it is possible to estimate the amount that is globally spent on the development of medicines at 300-350 billion dollars annually. For the entire Russian market, this amount is approximately equal to $ 1 billion. However, it does not take into account the significant investments that the state makes in research and scientific programmes. In recent years, the task that science has been assigned is to switch to applied developments that will be needed for the development of the Russian high-tech industry. Including pharmaceutical”.

At the session “Rare Patients. Orphan Drug Market Trends in the Current Reality”, panel participants identified the most acute challenges of rare patients in Russia. What should be the basis for a strategy to improve the care effectiveness for orphan patients, bearing the new situation in mind? What priority measures should be taken to enhance the availability of treatment for rare patients in Russia? The experts discussed these and many other related issues.

Yulia Rybchenko, Head of the Department of Methodological Support of Complex Health Technology Assessment, FSI “Center for Healthcare Quality Assessment and Control” of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation,“Speaking of rare orphan diseases, the healthcare system in Russia and in the world faces two problems, i.e. a limited evidence base and pressure on the budget. These problems can be solved through federal registers, which are already being maintained, if we are talking about high-cost ICD and life-threatening diseases. Here, information will not only be collected, but also analysed, and serve as a basis for making decisions based on the results of monitoring. This is a very important point in terms of accumulating the evidence base and analysing it.”

The next panel discussion was devoted to the topic “Pharma Digital. The Achievements of E-Health”. The experts discussed the difficulties faced by developers when implementing an e-health system, prospects and obstacles to the development of the Electronic Prescription platform, as well as new digital tools and services for patients.

Academician Irina Nadelyaeva, Head of Research and Development Department, FSSI “B.V. Petrosky Russian National Surgery Centre”, “Digital technologies have been given a chance to show their efficacy, especially during the pandemic. Things that were difficult to imagine before turned out to be possible. For example, a remote monitoring visit, a remote visit of a patient to a medical center, discussion of the patient’s condition and control over them, the use of combined technologies. I am sure that digital technologies in the field of healthcare will actively develop in the future”.

The final topic of the second day of the Forum was the session “Trends in the Dietary Supplements and Vitamins Market in Russia – the Key Drivers and Nuances of Development”. The participants analysed global and local aspects of the dietary supplements market in the new era, government support measures, accessibility tools, as well as import substitution opportunities.

Igor Borisenko, Director of Strategic Business Development, Petrovax,  “Dietary supplements are becoming more complex along with the growth of consumer expectations. The main focus now is on the quality of products, as well as the use of branded ingredients. As a result, there is a large “medicalization” of products. There is also an increase in the dietary supplements portfolio among market leaders, including due to migration from medicines and the withdrawal of new SKUs in the status of dietary supplements under a common umbrella brand. Gradually, the boundaries in the internal processes of pharmaceutical companies between dietary supplements and drugs are blurring.”

We look forward to meeting the Forum participants next year!

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