20 Apr 2018 16:36

Duma speaker warns of Russia's dangerous dependency on U.S. pharmaceutical imports

MOSCOW. April 20 (Interfax) - Russia must take efficient measures to swiftly make available in its market domestically produced medicinal drugs to secure itself from a possible halt of U.S. imports, State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said.

"The U.S. has around 50 billion rubles of annual net profit from supplying pharmaceuticals to our country," Volodin told reporters on Friday after a Duma discussion involving experts, business people and scientists of a bill on counter-measures to U.S. and other countries' unfriendly actions against Russia.

The bill, proposed a week ago by Volodin and the leaders of all four Duma factions, allows the president and the government to apply bans and restrictions to the imports of, among other things, U.S. medicines.

"What are we going to do if the U.S. stops supplying medicines?" Volodin said.

There is only one option: to develop our own production and invite companies from the countries not supporting the U.S. sanctions policy, he said.

The bill opens up opportunities for other companies, including those from Switzerland and Japan, and "destroys the monopoly of U.S. [pharmaceutical] companies," Volodin said.

He warned against scaremongering over the bill.

In his view, everything should be done for "our citizens not to become hostages to the U.S. position on this issue."