31 May 2023 12:58

Russia to remove Johnson & Johnson contact lenses from parallel imports list only after supplies confirmed

MOSCOW. May 31 (Interfax) - Russia's Industry and Trade Ministry will remove Johnson & Johnson contact lenses from the parallel imports list only after distributors confirm that the company will continue shipments to the country, Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister Denis Manturov said.

"We will see this in practice. We can't change our positions every week, we have to be more consistent, after all, so the mechanism that I talked about, parallel imports, will function here, and when our distributors are sure and confirm that our colleagues, manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, is maintaining its presence and direct shipments, we can always reverse the decision and remove this Johnson & Johnson brand product from the list," Manturov said at a ministry board meeting on Wednesday.

Russian healthcare oversight agency Roszdravnadzor said on May 25 that Johnson & Johnson had announced plans to remove a certain model from its assortment of contact lenses, shipments of which continued until the end of the first quarter of 2023.

"On October 27, 2022, Johnson & Johnson LLC, the authorized representative of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. in the Russian Federation, notified Roszdravnadzor of the planned removal of '1-day Acuvue TruEye with hydraclear 1 contact lenses' from the assortment of medical products," the agency reported in a press release.

The CEO of distributor Protek, Dmitry Pogrebinsky told Interfax at the time that the U.S. company had warned its partners that imports of contact lenses into Russia would be stopped, but there was no warning about the suspension of shipments of other products to the country. However, he said a shortage of contact lenses in Russia was not expected.

The Industry Ministry said on May 26 that it would "put the contact lenses of manufacturers such as Alcon Laboratories Inc., Bausch & Lomb and Johnson & Johnson on the parallel imports list within two weeks." Given that amid new sanctions the practice of issuing export licenses for these goods has not been established yet, this will be a preventative measure aimed at ensuring that the Russian market is supplied with this product, the ministry said.

"In future, if official shipments continue, this product can be excluded from the list," the ministry said.

Johnson & Johnson told Interfax on Wednesday that the company continues to supply Acuvue lenses to Russian consumers.