It is essential to impose strict control in the pharmaceutical industry in the country. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko gave a corresponding instruction during the visit to the pharmaceutical enterprise Minskintercaps on 26 January.
“An absolutely transparent and controllable monopolized system regulating the manufacture and sale of Belarusian and imported medical products should be formed in H1 2018,” the President instructed corresponding civil servants.
According to Alexander Lukashenko, the system in this industry should be similar to the one regulating the sale and import of alcohol and tobacco products. “I do not say that you will set prices or anything else, but you will take absolutely all processes concerning the manufacture, domestic sale and import of drugs under control. It is very important,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
The President added that, perhaps, even tougher control is needed in the pharmaceutical industry than in the sale of alcohol and tobacco products. “I will see what scheme you will submit to me in H1. This matter is very serious,” Alexander Lukashenko concluded.
It is necessary to resolve the problem of middlemen in pharmaceutical industry and other areas once and for all, the President said. “It is true for the entire country. Middlemen drain us dry,” stressed the head of state. “Let’s resolve this problem. Not only the pharmaceutical industry is affected. I’ve talked about the problem of middlemen many times.”
The President pointed out that the middlemen’s profit margin can go as high as half the price of a product. “It drives up prices. Why can’t we resolve the problem? It is a number one issue,” stressed the Belarusian leader.
Alexander Lukashenko pointed out that he had been ready to ban all kinds of brokerage in the past. “Ask [Belarusian Interior Minister Igor] Shunevich or [Chairman of the State Security Committee Valery] Vakulchik. They will tell you what the root of all problems is. Middlemen are the problem. They pay one ruble and earn ten rubles by reselling,” the head of state noted.
“If we are to allow some brokerage, then a minister or an oblast governor should sign off on it,” said Alexander Lukashenko. If law enforcement and oversight agencies have questions to ask later on, these civil servants will face responsibility for this decision, he stressed.
“We lose colossal amounts of money. Corruption is rampant right here. This is where money for giving bribes and the rest comes from,” the President is convinced.
Yet Alexander Lukashenko noted that middlemen are vital in some cases but high-ranking officials should be the ones to decide where and when.
The head of state added that resolving this problem is particularly important in view of the tough fight for markets and price-based competition on the international market.
During the visit to the enterprise the head of state said that Belarusian pharmaceutical manufactures need to achieve the parity in terms of supplies to foreign markets and domestic sales.
“We need to achieve a 50/50 ratio and also make sure that the domestic market is growing,” the Belarusian leader said.
As the head of state was reported, Belarus exported medicines worth about $150 million last year. According to preliminary estimates, last year’s pharmaceutical output amounted to Br1 billion, which is equivalent of more than $500 million.
Alexander Lukashenko drew special attention to the pricing of medicines, stressing that the prices for these products should be adequate and not overinflated. There is a need to continue to work actively with manufacturers and suppliers, to try to eliminate the involvement of intermediary structures of various kinds. “I would like you to keep track of prices on your own, not only on the instruction of the President. We will sort these things out soon. This is not good when the special services are asked to deal with prices,” the head of state noted.
The President also inquired about the production of domestic medicines, the operation of this sector in general, the existing procedure for the procurement of foreign medicines, and the current competitive environment. Alexander Lukashenko was reported in detail on the operation of Belpharmprom Holding Company and its subsidiaries.
The head of state was also briefed on the progress in carrying out the instructions to develop the pharmaceutical industry and supply the domestic market with Belarusian-made medicines. During the visit, he discussed the implementation of investment projects to modernize Belarus’ pharmaceutical industry, including at Minskintercaps company, the financial and economic state and development prospects for this sector.
The President learned more about brand new medicines made at domestic companies, visited the manufacturing areas of Minskintercaps and medicine quality control laboratories.
The head of state also instructed Minsk authorities clean up the city and especially its industrial zones.
“What a mess! Collective farms are building fences and cleaning up their territories. Look at these enterprises,” the Belarusian leader said.
“You have one year. The entire country, and first of all, Minsk, should be in ideal order in mid-2019,” the President said.
In particular, he deemed it necessary to clean up the territories of enterprises and build fences around them. The head of state demanded to spend the money on clean-up works wisely.
“Everything should be put in order,” Alexander Lukashenko stressed.
Apart from that, the head of state spoke about unfinished contraction projects. He urged the authorities step up efforts in this field.