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Gains in Russia’s 2020 pharmaceutical market

November 1, 2021
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Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Sales of pharmaceutical drugs soared in Russia in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the pharmaceutical industry, the COVID-19 pandemic became a challenge and a test of strength, breaking from previous trends. The growth in sales due to the urgent demand for drugs, the increased role of government regulation, and the speedier adoption of legislative initiatives all affected the dynamics of the pharmaceutical market.

In April 2020, the State Duma (one of the chambers of Russia’s parliament) adopted a law on the remote sale of drugs, primarily for non-prescription medications. Also, one of the most significant legislative initiatives of the government was the introduction of a procedure for accelerated registration of medicines and medical products in the event of an emergency. That made it possible to put domestic medicines and vaccines into use quickly to fight COVID-19.

The amount spent in the Russian pharmaceutical market in 2020 exceeded ₽2.0 trillion ($19.6 billion USD), which is 9.8% higher than in 2019, even though the volume of drug sales fell by 4%.

The final results for the pharmaceutical market in 2020 were influenced by fluctuations in consumer demand due to the changing information about how best to treat COVID-19. In some cases, there were shortages of certain drugs, since manufacturers were not always ready to meet the emerging need in a timely manner. The dynamics in the commercial segment of pharmaceuticals in 2020 were chaotic—from booming demand in March to almost negative demand in the summer months.

Additional government funding for medicine continues to drive growth. The biggest increase in 2020 was the purchase of medications for hospitals and clinics intended for the treatment of oncological and heart diseases.

Imported drugs constitute 31% of the pharmaceutical products sold in Russia in 2020 and 56% of the total dollar value. The amount spent on locally manufactured drugs increased by 13%, while expenditures for imported drugs rose 8%.

Foreign drug companies Sanofi, Novartis and Bayer recorded the highest sales in Russia in 2020. Three domestic manufacturers ranked among the top 20: OTC-Pharm, Biocad and Pharmstandard.

Pharmacy chains remain the main drug sales channel. ASNA, or the Association of Independent Pharmacies, reported the highest sales in 2020, with 14.4% of the market. Of the more traditional chains, the largest share went to the Rigla pharmacy chain, with 6.7%. Among pharmaceutical distributors, Pulse took first place, with a 14.7% share. The distributor Protek fell to the second place, with 14.0% of sales in the market.
According to forecasts, the market capacity in 2021 will be ₽2.2 trillion, which is 6% higher than in 2020.

The largest industry event in the pharmaceutical market is the Pharmtech & Ingredients exhibition, which takes place annually in Moscow.

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