RBC investigation: how "pharmacy alcoholism" conquers Russia

In Russia, there is a parallel expanding alcohol market, constituting over 20% of the official one, as RBC found out. Over 10% of Russians are looking at medical drugs and lotions as an alternative to the usual vodka.
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Shadow leader

At the end of 2015 the best-selling spirits in Russia, according to the authoritative British magazine Drinks International, was the vodka "Five Lakes". According to the newspaper, based in Omsk Siberian Alcohol Group produced about 36 million liters of vodka under this brand - more than its main competitors "Synergy" ( "Belenkaya") and Roust ( "Green Mark").

To achieve these results, the manufacturers had to work hard - to invest in marketing, improve the design, negotiate with the retail chains, to work for the minimum margin, etc. However, even if you put their performance, they still yielded the palm to the drink, which in common parlance referred to simply as "hawthorn".

Speech on alcohol drugs and cosmetic products, technically designed to improve the health and care of appearance, but in fact consumed by low-income segments of the population as a cheap alternative to vodka.

Precise data on volumes of production of this product in Russia there is only the assessment of the regulators and experts, but they clearly indicate the existence of enormous parallel alcohol market in the country. Thus, according to estimates Rosalkogolregulirovaniya (PAP), the Russians annually consume such lotions and tinctures "for fun" in the amount of 170 million to 250 million liters of vodka equivalent (40% ethanol content), and the demand is growing steadily by almost 20% per year .

According to Rosstat, in 2015, retail sales of vodka in Russia exceeded 860 million liters. The addition of other spirits - brandy, bitters, whiskey, etc. - Gives the total capacity of the legal market - about 950 million liters. Thus, "haw" accounting for about 20% of the market - a share that is not law-abiding dreamed vodka leaders.

According to the head of the Center for the Study of Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets (TSIFRRA) Vadim Drobiz, medical tinctures and cosmetic lotions regularly consume diversion 12-15 million, ie more than 10% of Russians. This is consistent with the assessment of another source. According to a representative survey of 18 thousand. Russians conducted by the Higher School of Economics, about 13% of them have friends who consume alcoholic substitutes are sold under the guise of drugs or lotions for shaving.

Bezaktsiznye cocktails

About "hawthorn" the problem is not the first say in the offices of all levels - from supervising the alcohol market Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Khloponin to regional leaders and heads of city administrations throughout Russia.

"Another important topic of discussion was the undefeated" haw "- described the correspondent RBC one of the meetings of the Government Commission on state regulation of the alcoholic market head Igor Chuyan PAP.

However, has not yet found ways to solve it. This means that the budget continues to lose revenue. After all, unlike their counterparts legal producers of alcohol, specializing in medications and cosmetics, are exempt from payment of excise tax (100 rubles per 0.5 liter bottle of vodka). If with tinctures and lotions were paid the same excise duties, additional budget revenues would range from 34 billion to 50 billion rubles per year.

However, to prove that manufacturers produce alcohol rather than drugs and cosmetics using alcohol, practically impossible. On the bottle of each of the vehicles - "oat tincture," "tincture of cayenne pepper", "lotion bread", etc. - Instructions for use: "20-30 drops several times a day before meals with cardiac disorder" or "cotton pad to rub into the skin of the face for toning effects." So, to make a complaint is useless.

The jurisprudence confirms this. Manufacturers "Hawthorn" successfully challenged in the arbitration decision made by the regional divisions of the PAP on st.14.17 "Violation of the requirements for the production and turnover of ethyl alcohol, alcohol and alcohol-containing products" of the Code of Administrative Offences. This is preceded by verification of the pharmaceutical company, which reveals the fact of production and turnover of alcoholic beverages without a license. To award a penalty - 200 thousand rubles.. However, in most cases arbitration courts side with the manufacturers who claim that produce drugs, but not alcohol.

Scrub "hawthorn"

Production of medical alcohol tinctures are engaged in dozens of Russian companies. "In most cases it is rather primitive in terms of the bottling plant equipment alcohol in consumer packaging, - said a source in the RBC PAP. - There are brought ethyl alcohol, mixed with water, a variety of fragrances and flavoring additives and filled into small bottles "finished pharmaceutical products." Expand this production can be quite fast - the equipment is inexpensive. "

It is only the final link "hawthorn" industry; on top of it - large enterprises - manufacturers of medical alcohol, which is the official language referred to as "pharmaceutical substances ethanol" and that from the technological point of view does not differ from the "ethyl alcohol", says a representative of the PAP. "In fact - it's the same distilleries using standard distillation columns such as" Komsomolets "with the capacity of 20 thousand liters of alcohol per day." - Explains the source of RBC.

Unlike in the other. Products working on the legal alcohol market Russian distilleries (44 in 2016; the largest owned by the state through "Rosspirtprom" and "Tatspirtprom") is controlled by the PAP. And the whole distribution chain - from the factory to the distillery enterprises and up to retail - is monitored by an electronic EGAIS accounting system. Transportation of alcohol, too, under the supervision of - with the help of the GLONASS system, which is equipped with all spirtovozy.

And manufacturers of pharmaceutical substances are administered by the Health Ministry and the Industry and Trade; Information on actual volumes of production of alcohol on them for the PAP is not available.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Khloponin, in Russia now operates 22 plants producing medical-grade alcohol. Law 61-FZ "On Circulation of Medicines" allows them to produce normal alcohol strength of 95, 70 and even 40 degrees as a drug.

"These vendors are not reporting Rosalkogolregulirovanie. Accounting for manufactured products is conducted on paper (in the magazine), the alcohol is sold without control, - says the source of RBC PAP. - Two dozen companies can produce unrecorded alcohol in huge quantities, which serves as the main source of illegal production of alcohol and various surrogates. "

Where rivers flow

Companies producing "ethanol pharmaceutical substances", are well known PAP, as well as the names of their respective owners. "Every time, carry out inspections of semi-legal workshops, which produces the so-called medicinal alcohol tinctures, we see the same thing: many plastic cans of alcohol under the names of the same companies in the labels" - says RBC said.

Dmitry Dobrov, chairman of the Union of Alcohol Producers (SNAP), which unites the largest producers of vodka, lists the largest manufacturers medspirta "Bryntsalov-A" (factory in the Moscow region Elektrogorsk), Samara "Hippocrates" (production of the Ulyanovsk region), the St. Petersburg company "Rossbach" (several pharmaceutical companies), ZAO "ROS" (two distilleries in the Oryol region).

Most of them produce only raw materials, which are then sold to smaller companies that produce ready-to-eat products. But there are also companies "full cycle". The Ministry of Industry RBC provided a list of the largest manufacturers of pharmaceutical (galenic) products - ready-made tinctures and antiseptic solutions in consumer packaging. According to the ministry, the leaders of both monetary and in kind are already mentioned "Hippocrates" (revenue in 2015 980 million rbl., The volume of 51.8 million packages), "Flora of Caucasus" of Karachay-Cherkessia (230, . 9 million rubles and 13.4 million packs), "Begrif" (Novosibirsk region, 211.7 million rubles and 10.9 million packs), Tula pharmaceutical factory (251.5 million rubles and 9.6 million packs), Ivanovo pharmaceutical factory (138.1 million rubles and 7.5 million packs).

The volume of packages ranging from small vials of 25 ml to 10 liter canisters. The proportion of alcohol content also varies - from 40 to 95% - and the Ministry of Industry is not fixed.

"Muscovy" King

Vladimir Bryntsalov chapter "Bryntsalov-A" plant (formerly "Verein"), has never concealed that made his fortune in the production of alcohol-containing medicines.

And although the site of his company transferred a vast range of very different products it medicines, the price list of 9 November, almost half position - an alcohol strength of 70 and 95% in containers of various sizes. Canister 95 l 21.5 per cent alcohol for the preparation of dosage forms is 1778.5 rubles, which corresponds to the price of a half-liter bottle of vodka about 20 rubles.

Alcohol tincture in the price list too. Balm "Muscovy" with 60% alcohol content is offered to wholesalers on 35 rubles. for a bottle of 250 ml. The label "Muscovy", helps with insomnia, shows the Kremlin, in addition to alcohol and water - motherwort and yarrow.

"I used to be produced and the type of alcohol tincture" Hawthorn ", but now it has become unprofitable," - says the businessman in the luxurious lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel. "Our spirit can not buy in a drugstore for a reason. We need a doctor's prescription. And pharmacies do not take it, because special storage conditions required. I have a month to sell 200 thousand. Flakonchikov antiseptic solution, and could sell 20 million. There are non-prescription products of nature, but the price is comparable to the price of vodka. The same "hawthorn" how much it costs? 20 rubles, the alcohol there in '10 Then 100 g of alcohol will cost 200 rubles, and the liter - 2 thousand rubles, "- writes the numbers on a sheet of paper Bryntsalov.

To win market substitutes and "Pharmacy alcoholism" Bryntsalov offers radically change the entire system of excise regulation and transfer tax on retail, placing it in a specific location, depending on the point of sale. Vodka should not cost the same, explains his idea of ​​an entrepreneur: an expensive central Moscow restaurant will let a few thousand for a bottle, and in the periphery it should cost less than $ 100.

Position PAP, Ministry of Finance, the legal vodka producers and alcohol Bryntsalov seems wrong. "What they want to fight? Well, they want to ban the perfume, which is now released. And who perfumers alcohol taking? They have the same! You hope that this will generate alcohol vodka? Yes, you will not win anything. The contingent, which drinks the garbage will not be buying it. He had no money on her. Naskrebet 30 rudders - will buy sugar, moonshine apparatik put "- sums up the businessman.

Medicine for the fan

A typical example of the enterprise of an average hand, specializing in the production of alcohol-containing medicines dual is a Moscow company "Constant M-Farm."

The fact that one of the founders of the football fan movement of the Moscow "Dynamo" and co-founder of the All-Russian organization of fans Alexander "San Sanych" Bykovskii is not only a recognized leader in fans, but also a successful businessman, has long been known in the fan community. "Dynamo" Fans with the experience told us that Bykovskii really just helped the club fans of "Dynasty" own funds for the organization of trips to away games, the production of banners, etc.

However, the specifics of successful business Autograph never mentioned either in the media or on the open fan forums.

As the database SPARK, Alexander Bykovsky is co-founder of several companies, the largest of which is founded in 1999 Ltd. "The Constant Farm M" (Bykovskii owns 75% of the company). The company has a website, which states that for 15 years it is a "leading manufacturer of alcohol-containing pharmaceutical products in the domestic market."

It owns two production sites - in Klin and Volokolamsk district. In the "Products" contains information about ethanol in a variety of containers (from 100 ml to 20 liters), as well as "cosmetic products", the range of which is not specified. In 2015, revenues amounted to 247.6 million rubles, net profit - 4.3 million rubles.

As follows from the judgment in April 2016 the Arbitration Court of Moscow, and confirmed in September on appeal, September 29, 2015 operatives PAP together with employees UEBiPK Research Affairs of Russia in Moscow conducted an inspection of the production facilities of "Constant Farm M" in Volokolamsk area to find where the evidence production of "food alcoholic products" without a license.

As evidence of illegal production appeared found in production facilities with a capacity of "alcohol-containing products with added flavors, giving it color and flavor of the finished cognac. The remaining samples were identified did not meet the requirements for the production of products for the enterprise Pharmacopoeias articles, "according to the text of the judgment (the documents are in the disposal of RBC). As a result, a court decision the company was fined 200 thousand. Rubles (st.14.17 CAO), and its technological equipment and all detected products were confiscated.

Dose after shaving

The situation with the producers of "drinking" cosmetics is somewhat different. They can not use rubbing alcohol, and are forced to buy it from the distilleries operating in the food industry. Therefore, alcohol shipments in the perfume factory in fixed EGAIS system. However, manufacturers of cosmetics also do not pay excise taxes.

At the same time its "perfume" they can legally sell anywhere. The recent case of resonance, when businessmen established vending "Boyarka" devices for sale lotions in Kaluga, Saratov, Chita and Novouralsk - a direct consequence of the absence of such restrictions.

It was the reason that a number of producers specializing in medicinal tinctures, switched to cosmetic lotions. "Nizhnefarm", the largest producer of alcoholic tinctures Crimea, known to local fans on the drug "septuplets" (or "Little Red Riding Hood" - caps on the color), produce a cosmetic lotion "Hawthorn" since the beginning of 2016. He, according to the head of the Crimean government Sergey Aksenov, sold everywhere - "even at the gas station stations."

The PAP result confirms the trend statistics. In 2015, the volume of alcohol supplies for the manufacture of perfumes and cosmetic products, household chemicals, etc. increased compared to the year 2014 by 4.2 times, from 9 million to 38 million liters. At the same proportional increase in the production of alcohol-containing non-food products did not happen, growth of only 12%. "This means that part of the alcohol is used for manufacturing products or unaccounted for, to be precise until the end, just poured into a plastic container volume 5-20 liters and is being implemented," - said RBC representative of PAP.

To drink or not to be

None of the interlocutors RBC did not deny the problem or expressed the opinion that it is necessary to leave "everything as it is."

To control the use of rubbing alcohol with 1 January 2017 the use EGAIS system for producers of alcoholic pharmaceutical substances would be introduced. This will allow the PAP to monitor the volume of production of medical alcohol and routes of its further spread. However, this is unlikely to affect the volumes of consumption, "Hawthorn".

Obvious defects also prohibitive or restrictive measures. For example, the introduction of excise duties on alcohol and rubbing alcohol for the production of cosmetics or setting a minimum retail price for vodka level as recently proposed Yekaterinburg Mayor Yevgeny Roizman, would lead to the fact that much would be gained popular drug, in particular Corvalol say drugmakers.

Vadim Drobiz of TSIFRRA sure that if you enter the excise tax on alcohol-containing medicinal products with interest rates at the level of vodka, then the consequences will be dire. "90% of alcohol-containing medicines will simply disappear from the market. A vodka market will grow to 500-600 million liters. In a few years it will reach the volume of 800 million liters ", - predicts Drobiz.

Health Ministry proposal to limit the amount of consumer packaging, which are bottled bitters, also arguable. "If converted to pure alcohol, the purchase of alcohol pharmacy cheaper than in two or three times for a comparable volume of alcohol. How many bubbles take a time - 5, 10 or 20 - for "pharmacy alcoholics" has special significance. Restrictions on holiday in one hand, too, are quite formally, there is a whole layer of pharmacies that specialize in serving the corresponding contingent ", - says Director of Development of the analytical company RNC Pharma Nikolai Bespalov.