«It’s time to reduce imports from abroad and to start get in contact with neighbors», — Ivan Zarubin, a temporarily in charge of the Trade Representative of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Bulgaria, said at the Bulgarian-Russian business forum «Medicine and Pharmaceuticals 2018» in Sofia on 13th of June.
Despite the small trade turnover (about 2 billion US dollars), the pharmaceutical market in Bulgaria, experts say, is interesting for the future expansion of Russian medicines into the European market and for the clinical trials. The pharmaceutical industry is one of the leading sectors of the Bulgarian economy, the CCI of the Republic of Bulgaria said. Its share in the country’s total production in 2017 remained at the level of 2,4%. In the pharmaceutical industry employs over 7,6 thousand people, which is about 1,7% of the total number of employees in the manufacturing industry.
In 2017, there were medicines delivered to Bulgaria from Russia in the amount of about $0,5 million. In 2016 — $0,15 million, in 2015 — $0,06 million. According to the CCI of Bulgaria, the share of manufacturing of original medicines and APIs does not exceed 16%. The industry is focused on exports — about 85-90% of medicines produced in the country are sold on foreign markets.
One of the key markets for the Bulgarian export of pharmaceutical products is Russia (30-35% of the Bulgarian export of medicines — about 250-300 million US dollars per year), over the last 10 years, deliveries of Bulgarian generics to Russia have grown more than 3,5 times. Other main markets for the products of the industry are the CIS countries.
«We are not satisfied with the numbers of the Bulgarian medicines export to the Russian Federation. Many of our high-tech drugs are not available at the market. Bulgarian pharmaceutical manufacturers intend to start production at the territory of the Russian Federation. I hope such business forums will help to establish the situation between the pharmaceutical markets of both countries», — Ivan Zarubin said in his speech.
Vladimir Padalko, a Vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, noted in his speech that for decades the countries maintained close partnership relations and now it is time to expand and to strengthen them.
Since the procedure for certification and registration of pharmaceutical products is a deterrent to increasing exports of Russian medicines to Bulgaria, the one of the main topics of the business seminar was devoted to the practical aspects of assistance to Russian companies to enter the European pharmaceutical market.
Viktor Dmitriev, the General Director of the Association of the Russian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, noted with regret that today there are no Bulgarian investors at the Russian pharmaceutical market. According to him, this is due to the fact that both countries produce almost the identical drugs — generics. «The Russian pharmaceutical business has a priority on the production of innovative medicines and expansion of exports. This includes not only our traditional markets in the CIS countries, but also expansion to the American and European markets. We have already entered the market of Southeast Asia and we are trying to target at Latin America», — the General Director of the Association of the Russian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers said.
In addition, among the benefits of trade with Russia, as experts say, is the lack of language barriers. Diplomas of doctors and pharmacists of both countries are equally valued. «The bases of educational programs of universities at our countries are the same. This is a good opportunity to establish an exchange of experience between specialists. We have a chance to continue and develop these relations from the point of view of health, medicine, science and pharmacy, and general educational projects» — Dr. Tanya Andreeva has noted, a Chairman of the Center for Social and Political Relations in Health of the Republic of Bulgaria.
«I am sure that both sides are ready to find a way to provide the opportunity for Bulgarian and Russian patients to get treatment in both countries and have access to innovations and high-tech equipment», — Boyko Penkov said, a Deputy Minister of Healthcare of the Republic of Bulgaria. «The freedom of trade will enable us to exchange goods and services, to provide opportunities for leisure and health promotion».
He was supported by Viktor Dmitriev, the General Director of the Association of the Russian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers: «Health is a supranational category independent of political trends and tendency. In 2009, the strategy «Pharma-2020» was launched in Russia, which was needed to revive the pharmaceutical industry in the country, because after the collapse of the USSR we suffered great losses and actually lost our own manufacturing». Viktor Dmitriev has noted that currently Russia, despite the fact that it still depends on foreign APIs, itself produces finished medicines of the world quality. In this case, a trend is taken to revive the production of APIs and the production of medicines in a full cycle. At present, Russia completely covers its needs for insulin and even is its exporter. In Bulgaria, recently, a serious problem has arisen with insulin. The parallel export of medicines, which for some medicines is more than 20%, has created serious problems for diabetics. Russia is ready to fill the deficit and to arrange the export of insulin to the country. «The volume of the drug market in Russia today exceeds $20 billion. This market is more than car market. One third of it is the government money. These are the funds that are used to treat diabetes, cancer, tuberculosis, HIV infection. Because of its attractiveness, foreign and Russian investors have invested more than 4 billion euros in the construction of new pharmaceutical plants in Russia. Thanks to this, the new pharmaceutical clusters that unite science, production and education have appeared on the map of Russia», — Viktor Dmitriev noted.
Within the framework of the forum, protocols of intent and cooperation agreements were signed. Both sides expressed the hope that by the end of the year a plan of actions will be outlined for the expansion of cooperation between the two countries. In addition, it was agreed that next year a team of students from Bulgaria will come to participate in the All-Russian pharmaceutical Olympics, which will be held in January in Nizhny