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Cabinet Pushes Hard for Domestic Drugmaking

The Industry and Trade Ministry has concluded about 100 contracts to finance domestic companies seeking to start local production of medicines that Russia now imports, Minister Denis Manturov said Thursday.

The ongoing contracting is part of a federal program to develop the country's pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries, which started last year, he said.

The ministry has also signed 240 contracts for the development of new drugs, Manturov said following a Cabinet meeting where the issue was discussed.

The government has spent 18 billion rubles ($580 million) on the program, including the contracts, he said.

Businesses have contributed 17 billion rubles toward the program's goals, he said.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev lamented the lack of domestic equivalents to foreign high-tech health care equipment. He recalled his visit to a cardiovascular center in Kaliningrad a day earlier.

"Everything was cool, everything was great, everything was simply astounding," he said. "There was just one problem: Everything was foreign-made, down to the last nail."

The program foresees that the share of domestic medical equipment on the Russian market will increase to 40 percent by the time it ends in 2020. The share of locally produced medicines will be half of the total.

Yaroslavl region Governor Sergei Yastrebov said six companies, including a Nycomed subsidiary, that plan to produce medicines in the region will alone account for 5 percent of the domestic market in 2020, manufacturing 50 billion rubles' worth of drugs. Two of the plants have begun operating, while four will start next year.

The Cabinet on Thursday backed a separate program for the development of the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries that has the word "state" in lieu of "federal" in its name.

It wasn't immediately clear how the new program differs from the federal program of the same name, except that Medvedev said the federal program was the basis for the state program.

Overall budget spending on the federal program for 2013-2020 is slated to reach 108 billion rubles. An additional 58 billion rubles is expected to come from private financing.

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