FAS POSITION ON SALE OF OVER-THE-COUNTER DRUGS IN RETAIL CHAINS
Due to media requests and dissemination of incorrect information about the risks of pharmacies closure and growth of drug prices that allegedly may take place if the Ministry of Industry and Trade adopts a draft law allowing sale of over-the-counter drug by commercial organizations, FAS would like to report the following:
Under the draft law, a commercial organization can be involved in retail trade with over-the-counter drugs in accord with the Law on medicinal drugs turnover, that requests, in particular, to obtain a license for pharmacological operations.
Today, any person intended to pursue retail trade with medicinal drugs can get a relevant license. To obtain the license and further perform retail trade with over-the-counter drugs, a commercial organization as well as any pharmacy must observe a number of standards specified in the Regulations in licensing pharmaceutical operations.
Thus, the draft law does not provide for any preferences or simplified drug sale procedures for particular type of organizations, and adopting it will not bring radical changes to the market.
The retail drug market is very dynamic. Hundreds of sales points are opened and closed daily in Russia. The new law will have no impact upon the current trends, let alone becoming a cause of mass closure of pharmacies.
Concerns about a possible growth of prices in case of adopting the draft law also are unjustified. Prices for the drugs included in the list of vital and essential medicines are regulated by the government and do not experience sharp fluctuations. Moreover, FAS undertakes systemic efforts to reduce them.
The draft law will not impact prices for other drugs that are also in the focus of the regulators’ attention. If monopolistically high prices are fixed, FAS employs antimonopoly measures designed to reduce them. One of the latest examples is FAS case against “Novartis Pharma” Ltd that fixed monopolistically high prices for “Tyverb” oncological agent (“Lapatinib” International Non-Proprietary Name). Increasing the number of players on the retail drug market intensifies competition between them, which, on the contrary will stimulate market participants to reduce prices.