Pharmacists do not want to share medicine with shops

The sale of OTC medicines in stores can force pharmacists to wind down their business.
The bill of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which allows selling over-the-counter drugs in food stores, will lead to a mass closure of pharmacy chains, their owners consider. Through the association "Soyuzpharm" they are trying to lobby the amendment of the document. Otherwise, pharma retailers risk losing a significant part of high margin products.

The non-profit organization Soyuzpharm (it unites 759 pharmacy organizations that own 4.52 thousand outlets in 47 constituent entities of the Russian Federation) will ask the Ministry of Industry and Trade to discuss with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry a bill permitting the sale of OTC medicines in grocery stores. The corresponding appeal is planned to be sent to the head of the Ministry Denis Manturov on January 12. In the document (a copy is from Kommersant), SoyuzPharma emphasizes that it is primarily concerned with the "health status of the population".

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The bill on the sale of medicines in the shops of the Ministry of Industry and Trade passed for public discussion at the end of 2017. The document allows trade organizations to sell non-prescription drugs in the presence of a license to carry out pharmaceutical activities. This, as previously stated in the ministry, will allow "to develop the domestic market of pharmaceutical products", as well as to increase the availability (including price) of medicines through increased competition.

The fact that adoption of the bill will lead to lower prices, SoyuzPharme doubts: the expansion of the number of retail facilities will not increase the volume of the drug market, but only redistribute them from pharmacy retail to grocery retail. The association also believes that the supervisory authorities can not cope with the increased number of registered enterprises selling pharmaceutical products, which will lead to the appearance of falsification. Separately, "Soyuzpharma" indicates that any medicine needs to comply with a number of requirements for premises, equipment, reception and storage conditions, and its sale should only be carried out by pharmacists or pharmacists.

But the Ministry of Industry and Trade believes that the stores have the opportunity to provide the necessary storage conditions for medicines. "Storage of meat, fish, dairy products also requires special conditions, and the necessary requirements are observed," the press service of the ministry explained to Kommersant.

The press service of the Ministry of Health recalled that, on behalf of the government, the issue of selling prescription drugs in stores was already being worked out and received a negative opinion from the public and experts. Problems of access to medicines for the population are not at present, the ministry believes. There are also shared doubts "SoyuzParma" in the ability of stores to provide the proper conditions for storage and release of medicines.

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Neofarm General Director and head of the Coordination Council of the Russian Association of Pharmacy Chains, Yevgeny Nifantiev, notes that up to 40% of all medications sold in pharmacies are drugs from the list of vital and important drugs, prices regulated by the state. "The main profitability comes from over-the-counter medications, and if they stop buying in pharmacies, they will either have to raise prices for prescription drugs, or close," - fears Mr. Nifantiev. The general director of "Rigla" Alexander Filippov does not at all see the need for a bill, since even now grocery retail can open pharmacy chains on its premises.

Roman O. Chernyhovtsev, director of external relations at the Association of Retailers, is convinced that OTC medicines should be considered as a regular commodity, the possibility of selling them in all types of stores. "The recommendations of pharmacists and pharmacists when they are sold are not needed," he said. The need for the bill Mr. Chernigovtsev sees that in some communities there are only network stores, and there are no pharmacies.

Representative of GC "Dixie" Vladimir Rusanov says that the company is ready to consider selling drugs in stores, but if this does not entail additional financial and regulatory burden on the main business. The representative of the pharmacy chain "36.6" Alexey Kiselev-Romanov believes that from the adoption of the bill the capacity of the drug market will not change, and retail chains will be able to choose between subletting their premises to pharmacy kiosks or selling over-the-counter drugs on their own shelves.

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