It is unprofitable for Belarusian drugstores to sell domestically produced medicines, Deputy Health Care Minister Hienadz Hadavalnikau said during a conference in Minsk on Thursday.
Representatives of the pharmaceutical industry openly acknowledged at a recent government conference that the sale of Belarusian-made medicines did not allow them to make a profit, as foreign-made drugs are about four times more expensive, Mr. Hadavalnikau said.
Belarusian medicines account for 36.7 per cent of the domestic market and for 12 percent of the drugs available at private pharmacies, he said.
Mr. Hadavalnikau complained that pharmacists often tell customers not to buy Belarusian medicines. “It is very sad and frustrating when professional pharmacists say, 'You may buy Belarusian medicines, but they are poor, they don't work,’” he said.
Mr. Hadavalnikau insisted that all drugs are identical, and that all pharmaceutical plants, including those in the United States, use equipment made in Italy, Germany and China and ingredients coming from the same plant in China and the European Pharmacopoeia.
People should be able to choose, which is why drugstores should carry both domestic and foreign medicines and pharmacists should give unbiased advice, he said.
Earlier this day, Aliaksandr Lukashenka has directed that the share of Belarusian-made pharmaceutical drugs must account for half of all medicines available at the country's drugstores by 2015, Viktar Shejn, deputy head of the health ministry's Department for Pharmaceutical Industry, said at a workshop in Minsk on September 20.
Belarusian-made medicines currently make up 36.8 per cent of the market, up from 23 per cent in 2011, according to the official.
He said that some healthcare institutions failed to present timely estimates of their medicine needs for the next year, leading to interruptions in deliveries of Belarusian-made pharmaceuticals.
Mr. Shejn announced that Belarus' pharmaceutical companies will advertise their products through a series of events to be held this month and in October.
There are 26 makers of pharmaceutical drugs in Belarus, including five state-owned companies. They make a total of 1,165 titles of medicines.