Pharmaceutical industry in Russia - statistics & facts

The pharmaceutical industry, which involves the development, production, and marketing of medications, is actively expanding in Russia, projected to grow by 147 percent between 2017 and 2030. One of the factors shaping the market is the government's push for national security in medicine supply, outlined in the "Pharma 2030 Strategy." The industry is dependent on import trade, valued at nearly 890 billion Russian rubles in 2019. Among the leading pharmaceutical producers by revenue in Russia, there is only one national company, OTCPharm. Another driving force of the industry is the evolution of online retail for over-the-counter medication, while physical retail stores are not permitted to sell them. Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, in March and April 2020, laws legalizing sales of OTC drugs were adopted in Russia, first only for the period until July 1, 2020.

How did COVID-19 impact pharmaceutical sales in Russia?

In the first quarter of 2020, the pharmaceutical market value marked a 125 percent growth, reaching nearly 320 billion Russian rubles. A significant impact on the industry was made by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, increasing demand for antiviral medicines, immunostimulators, antiseptics, and personal hygiene products during the self-isolation period. In monetary terms, sales skyrocketed in the second half of March 2020, with the highest growth rate observed for finished pharmaceuticals. Furthermore, the disease outbreak highlighted the importance of introducing online sales of medication, as people who were at home in quarantine could not go to the pharmacy.

What are the prospects of online pharmaceutical retail in Russia?

Consumer interest in buying medicine via the internet gradually increased in the country in recent years, and in 2020, it was fueled by the COVID-19 outbreak. Even though online OTC medication sales were permitted in Russia only in 2020, customers could order pharmaceuticals via the internet before, with nearly 25 million online purchases made in 2018. However, in those cases, consumers had to go to a traditional pharmacy and personally pick up orders, whereas the new legislation allowed door-to-door delivery. In April 2020, one third of Russian pharmacies considered online sales unethical. Concerns over pharmaceutical e-commerce were related to possible scams and fear of purchasing fake medicine.

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Pharmaceutical industry in Russia

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