R-Pharm, one of Russia’s leading drugmakers, has won a tender in Russia for the supply of Viekira Pak (ombitasvir, paritaprevir, ritonarvir tablets, dasabuvir tablets), a drug for the treatment of hepatitis C for state needs this year, according to recent statements of the company and senior officials of the Russian Ministry of Health, reports The Pharma Letter’s local correspondent.
The drug is currently produced in Europe by the USA’s AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) and was included in the list of vital and essential drugs (VED) in Russia in 2017, after Russia’s President Vladimir Putin promised to support R-Pharm’s business by the beginning purchases of drugs produced by the company for state needs.
The value of the contract is 413 million roubles (~$7 million). Under the terms of the deal, up to 120,400 packs of Viekira Pak will be supplied to the Russian state this year.
For this contract, the Russian Ministry of Health will spend about 40% of the total budget allocated for the purchases of drugs against hepatitis C, which grew four-fold this year, compared to 2017.
Currently the active ingredients for Viekira Pak are produced at the facilities of AbbVie in Italy, the finished dosage form of the drug is manufactured in Ireland, while in Russia the drug is packaged by Ortat, a subsidiary of the R-Pharm.
Thought not to be affected by trade counter-sanctions
It is thought that the new drug will not be affected by planned Russia’s counter-sanctions against the US drugs, the analogues of which are not produced in Russia or other countries.
Several days ago Vyacheslav Volodin, head of the Russian State Duma and one of the major initiators of the restriction on US drug imports to Russia, said of 1,019 drugs which are supplied to Russia from the USA, 90 have no local analogues. That means, these drugs will not be a subject of any restrictions, however imports of other drugs to Russia can be banned by the state.
In the meantime, Russian pharmaceutical business analysts find it difficult to assess the prospects for Viekira Pak, and in particular the possibility of banning the drug in Russia.
A source close to the Russian Ministry of Health said that it will mainly depend on what the government understands under analogies. According to him, usually this means an international non-proprietary name, but if the government considers the understanding of analogues wider, then a huge number of medicines may be under a threat.