Adam Smith Conferences holds the annual Pharmaceutical Forum which has proved itself as a major industry event for executives of international and Russian manufacturing companies, distributors and retailers, representatives of various departments, and experts of the pharmaceutical market.

The Forum was started with the discussion “From 2020 to 2030: Modernization of Healthcare and Medicine Supply Systems in Russia”. The panelists and very active contributors were: Maxim Stetsyuk, Executive Director of NANOLEK; Matthias Wernicke, General Manager of Merck, Russia and the CIS; Peter Rodionov, General Manager of GEROPHARM; Vasily Ignatyev, General Manager of R-Pharm; and Marek Vasicek, General Manager of Bristol-Myers Squibb. The session was moderated by Elena Kartasheva, President of Takeda.

All the participants have agreed that the Russian pharmaceutical industry has proved to be able to cope with new challenges during the crisis; and a global spread of new coronavirus infection has revealed the willingness of Russian and global companies to deliver quick results and give a prompt response in the event of force majeure. But the extreme working conditions in which economies and health care systems of all countries without exception found themselves, highlighted some “bottlenecks” as well. This year marks the period of summing up the ten-year “Pharma-2020”, and the current circumstances coincide with the completion of the program and a smooth transition to the “Pharma-2030”.

The participants pointed out that 10 years ago when the Pharma-2020 program was announced many things seemed to be really hard to do. Yet after these years, it was clear that the pharmaceutical market became attractive both for the Russian and foreign investments.

Each speaker made an evaluation of the Pharma-2020 program: they dwelled on results that had been achieved over the past ten years, lessons which can be learned from the implementation of the Pharma-2020 strategy, the ways to secure higher competitiveness of the Russian pharmaceutical industry. Moreover, the participants to the Forum have touched upon the state initiatives to support medicine developers and manufacturers; development of the API market in order to achieve drug and national security; strategies and development prospects for the immunoprophylaxis of infectious diseases; the ways to launch Russian products on foreign markets and the latest investment areas for the Russian pharmaceutical industry.

The panelists have emphasized that a lot has been done over the past decade: aggressive development of localization, transfer of the latest technologies to Russia, and integration between Russian and Western manufacturers. A lot of efforts has been made to revise the regulatory framework, legislation and pricing. Besides, new items have been added to the lists of cost-intensive drug and VED (Vital and Essential Drugs) lists; the new innovative drugs have been developed; GMP sector and clinical trials have experienced dynamic growth, and much more.

Maxim Stetsyuk: “The key customer in Russia is the government itself. In the “Health Care” program you need to realize well in advance wh ere you are going next, which specific programs need to be developed; and vaccination is one of the key projects. Indeed, it would be more correct to prevent diseases, especially when it comes to dangerous diseases. While we were battling coronavirus, we gathered unique experience that helped us understand why it is so vital to have this preventive mechanism in place. We need to develop our vaccination schedule jointly with the government, but this job isn’t easy. E.g. we have localized the production of a 5-component vaccine over the past 5 years. This vaccine protects against 5 dangerous infections with one shot only and this is a new opportunity we have never had before.

Some other important projects we have created are, first of all, localization of the poliomyelitis vaccine production; the world still has up to a 50% deficit of this vaccine. Russia is one of the few countries that can bridge this gap.

Secondly, we have launched a public-private partnership with the M.P. Chumakov Scientific Center to set a very positive example to others. We anticipate registration to be completed in Q1 2021 and by this time we hope Russia will have a full-cycle domestic facility to produce polio vaccines.

All of these steps forward should be taken jointly with institutions, colleges and universities in order to develop both manufacturing and R&D competencies. This is the next step to be taken as part of Pharma-2030 objectives. Implementation of such projects requires a long-term planning program since a 3-5 year production planning is not sufficient in terms of investment horizon, especially when it comes to vaccines. Lead time on investment in any advanced technology is 7-10 years or more. All of us will need to join force with the government to develop such long-term programs.”