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News > World

Russia Prepares Pharmaceutical Companies for War

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin

    Russian President Vladimir Putin | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 April 2019

Russia is preparing a war economy, even industry unrelated to defense is included in the plan. 

The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade is preparing a strategy for its economy in case of war. The pharmaceutical industry is not exempt. The plan includes independent production of important medicines by 2030. 

Venezuela: US Withholds $5B for Medicine 

The strategy, developed in 2018, is to guarantee the country's supply of medicine and surgical equipment. The production plan is assessed in accord to “military conflicts of varying intensity.”

In November 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of his country's ability to be prepared for a worst case scenario and being able to cover the needs of Russian citizens, noting that “the economy’s ability to rapidly increase the volumes of defense products and services at the right time is one of the most important conditions for ensuring the country’s military security."

The Russian Federation has provided several tons of aid in the form of medicines and active ingredients to Venezuela. The Bolivarian government is trying to overcome crippling sanctions, which have made it difficult to import medicines. Venezuela currently relies on 70 percent imports to cover the demand needed. Sanctions, political conflict and threats of war highlight the importance for Russia as well to establish independent production to meet demands in several scenarios. 

The document states that Russia needs to produce a stockpile of medicines “depending on the predicted severity and scale of losses" during the event of an armed conflict, or war. 

“It is important to determine the medical technologies used primarily in wartime to provide medical assistance, to treat the wounded and those affected by ionizing radiation or military-grade toxic substances,” the document reads. 

Russia is currently able to cover 63.7 percent of the market through its own production, while the sales of medicines made in the country only accounted for 30.6 percent. For this reason, the strategy paper highlights the importance of "educational work." 

The Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, the Ministry of Healthcare and the Federal Service for Supervision of Healthcare have “to guarantee the minimal assortment of medicines and medical products” in case of new sanctions, as is the case in Venezuela, or a political conflict. 

The second part of the strategy, however, includes the competitiveness of Russian pharmaceutical industry on the international market. Should a worst-case-scenario be avoided, financial and non-financial assistance through the Russian government could also help to make the industry more compatibable on the international market. Medicine itself can be a vital soft-power tool.

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