15th International Eurasian Pharmaceutical Forum

XIV International Eurasian Pharmaceutical Forum: Second Day of Business Program

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On February 28 - March 1, 2023, Almaty hosted the 14th International Eurasian Pharmaceutical Forum organized by Adam Smith Eurasia. The event traditionally united the key players of the industry market in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and other countries, becoming a platform for an open dialog of more than 350 participants - representatives of government regulators, international and local manufacturers, distributors and pharmacy chains, professional and patient communities.

The forum participants addressed the most topical issues of the modern pharmaceutical market in Eurasia: changes in the regulation of the single market, registration and expertise of medicines, pricing policy, market access for innovative drugs, conducting clinical trials in the EAEU, localization opportunities, development of distribution and pharmacy segments, as well as the system of labeling and traceability of medicines. The event was held with the active support of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The general pharmaceutical partner was Johnson & Johnson, and the leading pharmaceutical partner was AstraZeneca. The Forum also was supported by Proxima Research, Ipharma, Vakhidov & Partners, IQVIA, Global Clinical Trials, Polo, Grata International, Aston Health, Algimed, Sciencefiles, Statandocs, Tukulov & Kassilgov, Sartorius, Dinord, Legalmax, Stellmart, Nextons, Global Clinical Support, Sirius Group, Seamless Legal, AsylPharm, Daribar, Inkar, TeQ.

The second day of the business program of the forum was opened by a discussion on strategies for intellectual property protection in the pharmaceutical industry moderated by Alexander Bykov, Director of Healthcare Economics, R-Pharm, with the participation of Lyazat Kashkimbayeva, Deputy Head of Medical and Pharmaceutical Control Committee, Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Vadim Kukava, Executive Director, InPharma Association, Muhammadali Mahmudov, Managing Partner, Legalmax, Tadzio Schilling, Chief Executive Officer, Association of European Businesses, Nataliya Shapovalova and Ravil Kassilgov, Partners, Tukulov & Kassilgov Litigation, and Daria Rubailo, Chief Expert of the Chemistry and Medicine Division, Eurasian Patent Office, Eurasian Patent Organization. The key topics of discussion were cases of unfair competition, current problems of intellectual property rights, consequences of parallel import of medicinal products and ensuring a proper balance of interests to prevent defective medicines.

Issues of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) regulation, registration and expertise of medicinal products in the EAEU member states were discussed by the participants of the relevant focus session moderated by Elena Stepkina, Vice-Rector for Development, Kazakhstan Medical University “Higher School of Public Healthcare” Reports on the prospects for cooperation, as well as approaches relevant in the Eurasian countries were presented byLyazat Kashkimbayeva, Deputy Head of Medical and Pharmaceutical Control Committee, Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan; Mkrtich Shakaryan, Head of GMDP inspection department, Scientific Center of Drug and Medical Technology Expertise named after academician Emil Gabrielyan; Nazi Abdyrasulova, Head of the Division of Good Pharmaceutical Practice, Department of Drug Provision and Medical Equipment, Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Aziz Dusmatov, Director of the Center of Good Practices, Pharmaceutical Industry Development Agency, Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and Natalia Burlakina, Deputy Head of the Expertise Division, FSI SID & GP, Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia.

The sharing of relevant international experience was also the central topic of the focus session on clinical trials in the EAEU and CIS. Its participants discussed the mechanisms of state support and subsidies for conducting clinical trials, the prospects for recognition of clinical trials results in the EAEU countries, and, certainly, the current regulatory framework for the development of the industry. The session was moderated by Vsevolod Tyupa, Head of Life Sciences & Healthcare, Seamless Legal. Presentations were made by Andrey Alasheev, Director, Sciencefiles, Alexander Gik, Chief Oncology Expert, Nanolek, Ekaterina Sorokina, Director, Statandocs, Maria Fedorova, Director, Clinical Trial Support, and Alexey Kolbin, Head of the Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Evidence-Based Medicine, First St. Petersburg State Medical University named after Academician I.P. Pavlov.

The next item of the forum agenda was a practical focus session on production development and localization opportunities, where participants discussed the investment attractiveness of local markets, government support measures, as well as real cases of increasing the efficiency of enterprises through the introduction of best practices. The session was attended by recognized experts, including Sergey Klimenko, Partner and Head of Life Sciences Practice, Nextons, Aigul Syzdykova, Head of Strategy, SK-Pharmacy, Anastasia Kruglova, General Manager, IQVIA, and Aliya Zhumekenova, Partner, Grata International. The speakers also discussed current technical solutions to improve production efficiency. The following speakers shared their experience: Gleb Barsukov, Biopharma Sales Representative, Sartorius, and his colleague Eleonora Nassanova, Bioprocess Systems Sales Representative; Karin Wihsböck, Senior Sales Manager Eastern Europe, Turkey, Russia and other CIS Countries, SCIEX; Alexey Davydov, Customer Service Director, DINORD.

The business program continued with a strategic discussion on the prospects of development of the distribution and pharmacy segments, moderated by Evgeniya Lamina, Chief Commercial Officer. Avromed. During the session, the participants discussed trends in the movement of commercial drug markets of the EAEU and CIS countries, current challenges and opportunities, the state of competition and segment growth drivers. The following speakers presented their reports: Evgeny Zemlyankin, CEO, Amity International; Aziz Kasimkhodjaev, Member of the Board, Association of Representative Offices of Foreign Pharmaceutical Companies and Manufacturers in the Republic of Uzbekistan; Valentina Marchenkova, Founder & Owner, Sirius Group of Companies; Elena Nevolina, Executive Director, Association of the Industry of Health Products, Union “National Pharmaceutical Chamber”; Viktoriya Presnyakova, Director, SRO Association of Independent Pharmacies, Head, Alliance of Pharmaceutical Associations, Tatyana Trukhan, Head of Competitive Bidding and Procurement Team, Marketing Department, Belpharmacia, and Shokhrullo Abdullaev, Managing Partner, Delfield Group.

“If we talk about competition in the distribution sector in Kazakhstan, our framework is moving towards global trends. About 70% of the commercial segment is owned by 3 to 4 large distributors. The volume of distributor markup in a fairly competitive environment averages between 5 and 10%. I am talking about gross markup. If we talk about net income, it is between 0.5 and 1%. Consequently, the only option for a distributor to operate efficiently in the long term remains cost management.”

Evgeny Zemlyankin, Amity International

“If you look at the Uzbek market, regular distributors don't earn that much at 2 - 3% profitability, as there are constant dumping wars. In retail, of course, the situation is different. Large chains are mostly working at a loss, as everyone is trying to get more pharmacies, for example, up to 500 pharmacies, and then dictate their own terms.”

Shokhrullo Abdullaev, Delfield Group

“Competition in the Uzbek pharmaceutical market is very tough. At the same time, the market is very fragmented, as the largest distributors control only a third of the market, and in this sense, Kazakhstan is somewhat ahead in terms of natural transition to the point where the majority of the market is controlled by 3-5 distributors. I believe we are headed for consolidation, and it is not a question of whether we want it or not. Smaller distributors simply shut down and leave, unable to withstand competition and regulatory demands.”

Aziz Kasimkhodjaev, Association of Representative Offices of Foreign Pharmaceutical Companies and Manufacturers in the Republic of Uzbekistan

“In Belarus, unlike other markets, a fairly large share of the pharmacy segment is taken by the public sector – up to 50% nationally. They are more localized outside the capital, as the commercial sector is more interested in large sales volumes. In terms of competition, you could say it is not so pronounced, as we have a clear regulation of prices. People are choosing more based on the availability of medications rather than price. The main option to increase profitability is if you are the first importer and have your own pharmacy chain.”

Tatyana Trukhan, Belpharmacia

Our primary profit margin comes from our exclusive contracts with full exclusivity and e-commerce exclusivity. We chose the model of an international e-commerce distributor – we have 90% of our total group revenue from online sales, and we have virtually no offline presence, with the exception of Kazakhstan. I would say that in the current difficult conditions and the global economic recession for the pharmaceutical market in many countries, the driver is e-comm, and specifically the e-comm of marketplaces.”

Valentina Marchenkova, Sirius Group of Companies

An equally important issue for Eurasia – labeling and traceability of medicinal products – was the subject of a practical focus session moderated by Marina Durmanova, President, Association for Support and Development of Pharmaceutical Activities of the Republic of Kazakhstan, with the participation of Bikesh Kurmangalieva, General Director of the Project Office, Single Operator of Labeling and Traceability of Goods in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Agzam Nartaev, Coordinator of the Reference Pricing System, Agency for Development of the Pharmaceutical Industry, Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Alexey Kosarev, Project Manager, State Digital Marking System “Chestny Znak”, Indira Sadvakasova, Manager for Work with Domestic Manufacturers and International Organizations, SK Pharmacy, Tatyana Denisik, Deputy Head of Drug Supply Office, Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus, and Viktoriya Presnyakova, Director, SRO Association of Independent Pharmacies, Head, Alliance of Pharmaceutical Associations. Experts recalled that in 2022 the EEC adopted a simplified labeling system for high-tech medicines. Now it is allowed to reduce the amount of information on the package and to provide it in a foreign language with additional labeling in the national language. The adopted decision creates a basis for mutual recognition and admission to the market of foreign packaging and labeling of a number of drugs, which should contribute to their accessibility for patients. However, countries need to continue integration, they concluded.

The final event of the forum were parallel topical round tables with regulators and business representatives from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Belarus, where an open dialog focused on the most complex issues of regulation of the pharmaceutical industry of Eurasia and sharing of current practices between market players took place.

The organizer would like to thank the distinguished speakers, delegates, colleagues, partners and media representatives who supported the 14th International Eurasian Pharmaceutical Forum.

See you at new Adam Smith Eurasia events!