April 26, 2001 — MOSCOW — Health officials say the number of counterfeit pharmaceuticals in Russia has increased tenfold over the last year, resulting in an severe risk to public health.
At a recent news conference held the Association of International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, Deputy Heath Minister Anton Katlinky said around 3.6 percent of all drugs in Russia are false, according to a report in the Moscow Times. However some say the number is closer to 5 percent.
In 2000, the Health Ministry said it reported 56 separate counterfeit drugs and medicines, many of them high-volume pharmaceuticals like antibiotics that can turn a high profit. Such sales also translate into lost revenue for legitimate companies- possibly more than $100 million in Russia alone – on a yearly basis.
The association has called for creation of a special government commission to tackle the problem, specifically to deal with the related safety issues.
“We are trying to make sure this is at the top of the agenda,” said Robert Rozen, executive director of the association. “We’re talking about severe bodily harm or death. It’s a question of life and death.”
While many of the fakes found in the Russian market are created domestically, a large number are imported from China, India, Eastern Europe and Turkey.