Customs Clearance and Border Crossing Named the Biggest Challenge in Temperature Controlled Shipments to Russia

Pharma IQ

Russia's pharmaceutical industry is poised for growth. Driven by increased state investment and expansion in the parapharmaceuticals sector, the country's market is set for a compound annual growth rate of around 13 percent between 2011 and 2013, according to RNCOS figures.

What this growth brings with it is a need for improved infrastructure, not least in the field of cool chains.

Numerous studies have detailed how a greater number of pharmaceutical products will need temperature controlled distribution in the coming years, particularly as the market for biopharmaceuticals continues to grow, and the provision of improved infrastructure is likely to pull in the big pharma players the country is hoping to attract.

The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade released a tender for five imported drugs earlier this year – anaesthetics ropivacaine, and sevoflurane, diagnostic contrast media agents gadodiamide and iohexol and anti-anxiety medication propofol – a number of which require temperature controlled storage and distribution.
The tender was seen by many as a way of showing its doors are open for major players to increase their capacity in the country.

Russian authorities want to create a self dependence in the pharmaceutical industry as it tries to tackle the rising healthcare costs associated with diseases of affluence like diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disorders.

Significant sums have already been spent on enhancing infrastructure for its domestic market, as an enticement for outside manufacturers, RNCOS's Russian Pharma Sector Forecast to 2013 noted.

However, results from a survey conducted by Pharma IQ of key members of the pharma, biotech and logistics communities, ahead of the 11th annual Cool Chain Logistics Europe event, revealed the authorities are making progress in boosting the appeal of their pharmaceutical market although not all are yet convinced about the cool chain infrastructure it has in place.

Some 57.7 percent of those polled said they currently have an office located in Russia or ship temperate-controlled shipments to the country, with a further 11.5 percent planning on doing so within the next 12 months. However, almost a third (30.8 per cent) currently had no plans to start shipments to Russia in the future.

Looking deeper into the issue, problems start to emerge with the current cool chain provision in the country – the main one in an area where the government does have the power to improve the situation.

Customs clearance and border crossing were named as the biggest challenge in cool chain delivery by 57.7 percent of those surveyed. The issue could be connected with the decision by Russia to favour domestically produced pharmaceuticals over international imports, which has led to the signing of some lucrative deals.

Indian company Aurobindo in September signed a deal with Russian company OJSC Diod, which will see a joint venture construct a factory outside Moscow for the manufacture of generic and over-the-counter medicines, while Novartis, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKlinehave also taken similar steps to get a foothold in the market, PharmaTimes noted.

Other issues raised in the Pharma IQ survey included the lack of availability of specialised transport, as mentioned by 23.1 percent of those polled, which is a particular issue given Russia's large size. Some 11.5 percent cited issues with the availability of warehousing, while 7.7 percent expressed concerns about security.

The forecast from RNCOS suggests that a large segment of the Russian pharmaceutical market is still untapped. State backed health insurance schemes have presented buying power for the population, while the growing prevalence of lifestyle diseases provides separate opportunities.

With the commercial pharmaceutical segment expected to take the largest share by 2013, it is clear the concerns surrounding the cool chain are not expected to hold development back, although the verdict from the Pharma IQ research shows there are still issues which clearly need to be addressed.

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