The Cabinet of Ministers rejected the idea to allow the sale of pharmaceuticals in grocery stores
In Russia nonprescription drugs will not be sold in trade networks, Kommersant reports. The bill draft, ratifying cease of the monopoly of pharmacies for these drugs, was criticized by representatives of the pharmaceutical industry and the Ministry of Health.
The government stopped drafting amendments to legislation which would allow selling nonprescription drugs not just in pharmacies, but also in grocery stores, reports Kommersant referring to a letter from the government's social development department.
The representative of the vice-premier Tatiana Golikova confirmed this information. According to her, the Ministry of Industry and Trade approached the Cabinet with a proposal to stop the development of the document, which received a large number of negative reviews. Kommersant's interlocutors in the pharmaceutical industry linked the refusal to draft the bill with the departure from the government of Igor Shuvalov, who promoted the idea.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade initiated the sale of nonprescription drugs in trade networks in 2009. In early 2016, Shuvalov instructed the Ministry of Health to prepare a pertinent draft bill. The Office did not support this idea, after that the work on this issue was suspended for a while . The initiative to sell nonprescription medicines in stores was again voiced in a meeting at Shuvalov office in late August 2017. The initiative was supported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which placed its version of the draft bill in public domain in December 2017.
The document proposed to give trade organizations selling licenses of nonprescription drugs in order to "develop the domestic market of pharmaceutical products." It was said in the Ministry of Industry and Trade, that this approach may increase the availability of medications and reduce prices through competition.
The danger of such a project was indicated by representatives of the pharmaceutical industry. Competition with retail chains could lead to the closure of thousands of pharmacies located within a walking distance. The General Director of the pharmacy chain Rigla, which owns almost 1.86 thousand salespoints, Alexander Filippov warned that because of this innovation network it will become necessary to close almost half of the salespoints. As the Executive Director of the National Pharmaceutical Chamber, Elena Nevolina, noted, in such circumstances, many pharmacies would prefer to abandon the sale of prescription drugs necessary for the population and start selling products in order to obtain the license offered by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry sent a letter to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, pointing out that under these circumstances there may be a shortage of prescription drugs.
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