Pharmaceutical manufacturers have overcome the logistics problems that arose at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shortage of certain active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), said President of the Association of Manufacturers of Medications of Ukraine (AMMU) Petro Bahriy.
“Among the general problems that have arisen with the introduction of quarantine [at the beginning of the epidemic], I would single out the problems of logistics, difficulties with the import, transportation of pharmaceutical products and their registration in connection with closed borders, as well as problems with the so-called ‘anticovid’ goods, for which there is an increased demand today,” he said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
Bahriy noted that the price of some APIs of drugs used in the treatment of COVID-19 and complications of this disease has grown significantly in the global market – there are problems with production due to delays in deliveries.
“This is not a critical situation for the industry as a whole. We have to restructure, place orders earlier, realizing that delivery times will be longer than they were before the pandemic. For the entire time of the pandemic, consumers have not particularly felt a shortage of medicines,” he said.
Domestic pharmaceutical manufacturers hope to simplify the procedure and conditions for state registration of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), which will allow maintaining the volume of drug production in conditions of API shortage, said President of the Association of Manufacturers of Medications of Ukraine (AMMU) Petro Bahriy.
“At one of the meetings in the Ministry of Health, it was decided to simplify the procedure and conditions for state registration of APIs that are part of all medicines, due to the aggravation of the problems of supplying raw materials for the production of drugs to Ukraine due to the introduction of restrictions on export by main suppliers (China, India), in case of replacement of the API manufacturer for the registration of alternative API suppliers in order to avoid a shortage of necessary medicines,” he said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
The head of the AMMU also noted that domestic pharmaceutical manufacturers hope that the possibilities of using mechanisms of state guarantees, state orders and state reserves for the procurement of medicines will be considered.
At the same time, Bahriy believes that one of the real steps of the state, which would allow solving the problem of the deficit of imported APIs, could be an appeal by the Ukrainian embassies to the governments of the countries in which APIs are produced.
“We need to consider real steps. This can be help from our embassies, which can appeal to the governments of the states where APIs are produced, for example, China or India, so that they somehow pay attention to Ukraine, increase quotas. Although we understand that the effect of this is unlikely will take place, since the United States, the EU, and the whole world, which is in line, turn to these governments,” he said.
In July-September 2020, the pharmaceutical company Teva increased sales of the antibiotic with active substance Azithromycin in Ukraine, which accounts for about 11% of its total sales in the country in monetary terms, by 5% compared to the same period in 2019 of the year.
Teva-Ukraine pharmaceutical company told Interfax-Ukraine that since the beginning of the pandemic in Ukraine Teva has sold more than 600,000 packages of this antibiotic.
At the same time, according to the results of the third quarter of 2020, sales in general on the Ukrainian pharmaceutical market in the segment of oral antibiotics in monetary terms grew by 14% compared to the same period in 2019.
Teva-Ukraine said that the company produces both original and generic azithromycin, which is used to treat bacterial respiratory tract infections and other infectious diseases.
Azithromycin is included in the protocol for providing medical care for COVID-19 in Ukraine and in many countries around the world.
“Teva has been providing uninterrupted supplies of azithromycin to Ukraine since the beginning of the pandemic and we will continue doing this,” the company said.
The company said that demand for azithromycin has grown worldwide amid seasonal illnesses and the use of azithromycin for the treatment of co-infections with COVID-19.
“It is possible that certain dosages and forms of production from different manufacturers may be in short supply. In our case, we do not see risks, since Teva’s portfolio contains 17 trade names of azithromycin, most of them are interchangeable. In case of a possible shortage of one of the forms, we proactively warn our partners about this, talk about available alternative forms of production, increase the volume of their imports,” the company said.
At the same time, Teva urges people to remember the rules for using antibiotics and the possible consequences of irrational antibiotic therapy and self-treatment in general.
“Only a doctor can prescribe antibiotics,” the company said.
According to Proxima Research, Azithromycin Teva has been the leader in the oral antibiotics segment in Ukraine since 2019. Over the past month, its share of all medicines in Ukraine amounted to almost 1% in monetary terms.
Teva Ukraine LLC is one of the five largest pharmaceutical companies on the Ukrainian market. The company’s portfolio includes more than 200 generic and original medicines used in most key therapeutic areas.
Teva Ukraine is part of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, an international pharmaceutical company headquartered in Israel, founded in 1901. Teva specializes in the development, production and marketing of generic and original medicines and active pharmaceutical ingredients.
By the end of 2020, the pharmaceutical market of Ukraine will grow by 5-6% in national currency, while at the beginning of the year a growth of 14% was expected, Director of AstraZeneca Ukraine LLC Yevhen Gaidukov has said.
“If we had a forecast of about 14% growth in the national currency, now we believe that by the end of the year the market will grow by 5-6% in hryvnia, but growth will depend on the U.S. dollar exchange rate,” he said during the European Business Association (EBA) Global Outlook event held in Kyiv on Tuesday.
Gaidukov said that the key challenge faced by the pharmaceutical market in 2020 was the almost complete absence of patients in clinics since April-May and “absolutely panic demand in March.”
“We, as an industry, were not ready for this. Telemedicine and other means of remote communication between a doctor and a patient were undeveloped. This is the reason for the market decline,” he said.
Under the optimistic scenario, Gaidukov predicts the growth of the pharmaceutical market by 10-11% in 2021.
“For 2021, we believe that the market will grow by 10-11% under the optimistic scenario. With regard to our company, we want to grow and this year, we will grow several times faster than the market,” he said.
At the same time, Gaidukov said that the pace of the Ukrainian pharmaceutical market “will strongly depend on the reform of the healthcare system, which has slowed down this year, taking into account the prioritization of other things, in particular COVID-19.”
Ukrainian pharmaceutical companies are ready to produce around 1,000 PCR tests per day, which will allow them to satisfy the demand for PCR tests in Ukraine in full, Deputy Health Minister, chief sanitary doctor of Ukraine Viktor Liashko has said during a press briefing in Kyiv on Monday.
“We expect to receive 22,000 PCR test systems from Ukrainian producers, which will allow carrying out around 2 million tests. The systems are expected to be ready next week. Ukrainian producers are ready to make around 1,000 PCR tests per day, which will allow satisfying the demand for testing in Ukraine in full,” he said.
The deputy minister said that currently Ukraine has around 250,000 PCR test systems in stock and added that Ukraine carries out not less tests than other European countries during the epidemic.
“We should realize that Europe is 15-20 days ahead in terms of the epidemic development. We monitor the dynamics and developments in Spain, Italy and France. If we look at the number of tests, Ukraine carries out not less of them than other countries. Thus, the testing issue is not a problem. Ukraine is ready to carry out tests,” he said.
Liashko also said that the Health Ministry will open a hotline for the patients whose requests for coronavirus (COVID-19) testing were rejected.
Growth of sales under the Affordable Medicines program that reimburses the cost of medicines has suspended, and pharmaceutical manufacturers are waiting for the expansion of the list of diseases under the program, Marketing and Sales Director at PJSC Farmak Susana Khalilova has said. “As for the Affordable Medicines program, it seems that the further quantitative growth in sales of medicines has stopped. A fuss about it has fallen. A more or less clear number of patients has been formed,” she said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine. She said that “it was simply a “madhouse” at the beginning of the Affordable Medicines program – pharma companies could not guess the necessary number of medicines.”
“A year has passed and we understand approximately how many and what preparations are needed. Patients calmed down a bit and do not buy two or three packages to have them for the future. It took time to establish the process,” she said.
According to Khalilova, the Ministry of Health had to calculate the number of medicines required for participation in the program. “If the state at the very beginning have said how much money it would spend on a certain molecule or announced the approximate consumption of the concrete drug, it would have been much easier,” she said. In addition, Khalilova said that Farmak receives information on cases of a lack of budget funds for the Affordable Medicines program.
Farmak is a member of the Association Manufacturers of Medications of Ukraine (AMMU).