Novartis seeks industry development and research growing in Russia

29 April 2009

Victor Khristenko, the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, chaired a working meeting with Board Chairman and Director of Novartis Daniel Vasella.

In the course of the meeting, they discussed perspectives of the company’s growing presence in the Russian market by means of expanding the manufacturing and research infrastructure in Russia.

The minister presented the core issues of the Strategy of the Russian pharmaceutical industry development until 2020. He said that the Strategy is ‘an uncontroversial combination of corporative strategies of market players and views the state has with regard to developing the innovative pharmaceutical sector’. He made a point of that ‘we see our principal mission over a long-term period in assisting start-up projects on the part of the government as well, then, in filling the gap between fundamental research and introduction of engineering results to the manufacturing’. He also added that it was planned to bring the share of pharmaceuticals made in Russia to 50% in the internal market by 2020 as compared to 20% of today. Victor Khristenko believes that the current weakening of the ruble can help encourage this process.

According to the Russian minister, to develop innovative manufacturing they will see at stake not the Russian market alone but the world one too on the whole. ‘As a matter of fact, this means a substantive transformation of the regulatory system working today in Russia in terms of harmonizing it with international standards. This will let us open a bilateral movement of products,’ Victor Khristenko stressed.

He stated that the companies would define themselves their own model to participate in the Russian market. Meanwhile, according to him, ‘there are good examples of big foreign players, who have either created a factory in Russia or purchased one and been developing this working active.’ Also, the minister noted that Russia could boast the good scientific school including that in chemistry and biotechnology. ‘Thus, to evolve a contract factory or start-up project in an innovation segment along with developing the research segment can also be effective,’ he added.

At the end of the meeting, Victor Khrisenko made a point of that the investor, who has come to Russia on clear grounds, who is willing to meet contract liabilities and who is interested to stay there long-term, is considered to be a Russian manufacturer. ‘Provided investors are ready to discuss perspectives with us and to be committed to long-term investments, this means they trust in what we do, but we equally feel our responsibility’, the Russian minister stated.

The meeting parties pointed out that they shared a common view on the perspectives of the Russian market development. Novartis representatives showed their interest to develop their manufacture and expand research capabilities in the Russian Federation.



Patient organizations note positive developments in pharmaceutical provision

30 April 2009

On 27 April in the Federal Service on Surveillance in Healthcare and Social Development (Roszdravnadzor), Nikolai Yurgel, the Federal Service Head, chaired the meeting on providing people with rare diseases with essential pharmaceuticals, including the programme of the seven nosologies requiring heavy spending. Some 30 non-for-profit organizations and agencies took part in the meeting:

The All-Russian Haemophilia Society, the All-Russian Association of Disabled People with Diabetes, the Moscow Diabetes Association, the Rheumatology Association “Nadezhda” (“Hope”), the Non-for-profit Partnership “Equal Right for Life”, the Anti-Cancer Movement, the Association of organizations of people with rare diseases ”Genetics” (S.-Pete), the Epilepsy Society (S.-Pete), the Society of patients with oncohematologic diseases, the Hunter Syndrome Society, the Organization of people with nephrological diseases “Right for Life”, the Organization for assistance to children with rheumatologic disabilities “Vozrozhdenie” (Renaissance), the Organization of nephrological patients “NEPHRO-LIGA”, the Organization for assistance to people with oncologic and oncohematologic diseases “Sodeystvie” (Assistance), the Organization for assistance to people with mucoviscidosis, the [All-Russian] Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Organization “Assistance to people with childhood disability who suffer from Gaucher's disease and their families”, the Tula Organization of disabled people “Diabetes”, the Foundation for science, education and medicine development, etc.

They discussed issues on interaction within the state in terms of the Roszdravnadzor and civil society represented by patient organizations. Nearly all representatives of the non-for-profit agencies noted positive developments in pharmaceutical provision for relevant patients and praised the Roszdravnadzor’s operation on organization of interaction and problem solving in non-for-profit organizations on the whole and each particular patient. The meeting heard various views on how to provide services in health, care, rehabilitation and social support. The representatives of non-for-profits told about their challenges and put forward requests and propositions.

In conclusion, Nikolai Yurgel mentioned that the Roszdravnadzor deems it extremely important what non-for-profits and, especially, patient agencies think in question, and their opinion is surely respected when making management decisions. He openly hopes for the ongoing and productive collaboration, which exists today between non-for-profit organizations and the Roszdravnadzor, and that it will be developing and getting stronger in the future.

The Roszdravnadzor head believes that an effective control and provision system of health services must be developed with non-for-profit organizations actively involved on both federal and regional levels. The directors of Roszdravnadzor territorial departments received relevant instructions to encourage interaction activities.




Russian people with MS and all those affected by the disease are welcoming the World MS Day (WMSD) in Russia. This event mobilizes the efforts of Russian activists in their fight against MS even harder while uniting them with numerous colleagues throughout the world. We strongly believe today that we have all capabilities to work effectively. Now, it is important to learn more, teach others and just keep on working, which will help give the best mark for the activities done in the end. What we need to achieve that is really know we are not alone.

We have heard a lot and, perhaps, spoken ourselves about ‘the feeling of fellowship’, how helpful it is in our activities and what productive team spirit it creates. There are many testaments to the proverb ‘one man in the field is no warrior’. Most likely, there had been no such unity among people, who would act and think alike in order to improve the quality of life of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) before the attempt of the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) to do the first ever World MS Day on 27 May 2009. Indeed, it was the biggest action as each participant could feel in the global team, while the scope of events carried out within the framework of WMSD surely highlighted MS as a pressing problem as well as concerned those, whose opinion is counted and listened to and who is able to influence PwMS’ life.

In Russia, WMSD was, perhaps like in many countries, a trial balloon. However, our experience so far of implementing activities to benefit and advocate PwMS let us escape having a modest role, while our overseas colleagues were carrying out functions of large dimensions. Take, for instance, “Roll for MS” cycling and motorcycling events in Europe and Northern America – it is really breathtaking to see the strong approach that is used there to raise awareness of MS! Two women with MS climbing Mount Everest can more than encourage an upmost naysayer.

Yet, Russian people did not talk about WMSD alone but they were also doing something towards it. Everyone was free to choose the form and dimensions of an event to conduct. As usually, the Samara branch of the All-Russian MS Society was working a lot to get involved, but it was a good surprise to learn that other our colleagues in regions (provinces), significantly, and in their own way, contributed to the GLOBAL MS MOVEMENT and did their bit to reach the moment when we shall END MS.

Thus, in expectation of the World MS Day our workfellows in the Tula regional branch of the Society, in despite of current difficulties, managed to organize a meeting, where physicians, public authorities and PwMS were sitting together at the table. WMSD was not the only topic of their talk, since such companions should always have something to discuss. The persons with MS there talked about plans for the future with the people, who are immediately responsible for making relevant decisions.

During the function, the participants received some books as gifts. For instance, some of the physicians got the book ‘Syndrome of Upper Motor Neuron’, while Aleksandr Popov’s book was among participants ‘like hot cakes’. That day was also the starting point for the traditional action in the Russian MS movement ‘white ribbon’, which volunteers would tie to trees and other objects to draw attention of most people and, certainly, authorities. This helps raise awareness of MS among governmental authorities and the public. At the meeting, the officers pledged they would cover WMSD in the media.

In Voronezh, where the ‘Solominka’ newsletter is made - the newsletter to help fight the disease - the first two pages of the printed publication were dedicated to the Word MS Day.

Newsletter readers were interested in WMSD events that were taking place in other countries. The All-Russian MS Society staff attempted to do more and published WMSD news generated by MSIF on the website of the Society. Those news became immediately open to all Russian-speaking readers online, which helped greatly to raise awareness of WMSD and events held within its frames.

In Russia, the World MS Day was marked all over the country. In the far-eastern city of Vladivostok, PwMS chose for that their regular venue for meetings, i.e. the MS centre. Our colleagues held a conference there, during which the participants could have their questions answered. Though, WMSD in Vladivostok was not turned into another working day. The society members gathered in a café and went on marking the Day but in a more homelike atmosphere.

The Ulyanovsk regional branch of the All-Russian MS Society was also welcoming and encouraging people affected by MS to join the global movement.  Apart from the party for members of the society, much work to raise awareness was done among public authorities. Thus, the society staff sent the press-release about the World MS Day to the media, non-for-profit organizations of disabled people, the Department for social protection of the Ulyanovsk region, District Departments for social protection in the city of Ulyanovsk, etc. Moreover, on 27 May there was the Round-Table held in the City Duma (Parliament) to conduct the ‘Discussion of President Medvedev’s speech at the 7 April Session of the Presidential Council for the Disabled’. Tatiana Bezhanova, chairman of the All-Russian MS Society’s branch, complimented those present (there were representatives of non-for-profit organizations, Ulyanovsk city and region executive and lawmaking authorities) with the World MS Day. At last, on that very day the Ulyanovsk MS society held a tea-party for society members, which was dedicated to WMSD. People liked the party and decided to have another one to mark the All-Russian MS Day.

In expectation of the World MS Day, an MS Week was held from 20 to 27 of May in the city of Samara.

The action was organized by the Samara regional public MS organization (the Samara branch of the All-Russian MS Society).

On the first day, an exhibition-competition of creative works made by disabled people was opened, and it was working all the week long.

Next day, a charity party for PwMS took place.

On the third day, the society members enjoyed a concert given by students of Children School 20 – dancing group ‘Triumph’.

On the fourth day, PwMS and their families and friends went out and offered white ribbons (symbolizing MS) to residents of Samara, as well as posters and information messages.

The fifth day was marked by a gala-party dedicated to the World MS Day.

This week was excellent to kill the stigma given to PwMS, who are often associated with the loss of memory and declining years. Surprisingly, general public found young people among PwMS, who are in need of assistance and support.

It might be a coincidence that the anthem in the Samara branch of the All-Russian MS Society was written by the World MS Day. Even so, there are no further coincidences. Shortly before WMSD, students of the Samara State University department of social work chose to contribute to the global event in their own way. So, they held an action on housecleaning in PwMS’ places. The students visited PwMS with severe disabilities and tidied their homes. Actions like this in Samara unfold within the frames of ‘The Week of the Good’, when some assist disabled persons in their homes, while other participants of the action are busy with urban greening. However, this action cannot be called as a one-time service, since University students have been engaged for years in assisting lonely disabled ones by housecleaning, being on their errands to do shopping and other requests. Toward the World MS Day, the Samara branch of the All-Russian MS Society conducted a meeting with students of the University department of social work, which resulted in the development of a programme and signing a collaboration contract with the Samara State University.

Another significant activity by the World MS Day was the holiday event on 26 May with the participation of the heads of Social Service Centres at the Samara Ministry of Health and Social Development that was followed by drink reception and a concert.

Also, at the exhibition-competition all invitees could see creative works, handworks and pieces of arts and crafts made by the disabled.

In conclusion, I’d like to stress again the significance of marking the World MS Day as a date, when international efforts of MS movement mobilize, and we can take pride in seeing how numerous and strong we are in our struggle against the common trouble. However, I had better conclude by the wish our colleagues from the Taganrog regional branch of the All-Russian MS Society expressed, who also rated WMSD high but wished so that people with multiple sclerosis should be attended not only on such major occasions but also throughout the year.

Pavel Zlobin

Vice President, All-Russian MS Society


Council for the Disabled April Meeting

THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW. Dmitry Medvedev held a meeting of the Council for the Disabled.

April 7, 2009 20:30


 The meeting addressed the social adaptation of people with disabilities, their integration into society, and improvements to legislation protecting their rights.

The President instructed the Public Health and Social Development Ministry to bring national legislation into compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The head of state recalled that Russia joined this international convention in September 2008.

The Council for the Disabled was established in December 2008 to implement state policy designed to protect and benefit disabled persons. The Council is a presidential consultative body and includes representatives of public authorities, State Duma deputies and public organisations of persons with disabilities.


GORKI, MOSCOW REGION. Dmitry Medvedev had a working meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin.

April 9, 2009 17:30


Finance Minister informed the head of state about the implementation of the budget in the first quarter of 2009.

Mr Kudrin said that the government cabinet's Anti-Crisis Programme and amendments to the 2009 budget will take into account the orders the President gave during the meeting of the Presidential Council for the Disabled , as well as certain proposals relating to measures to support housing construction and the cultural spheres.



Public Councils in Regions

An overview of the Public Councils at the Departments of the Federal Service on Surveillance in Healthcare and Social Development in constituent territories of the Russian Federation


A.Saversky, Public Council on patients’ rights protection, Roszdravnadzor (Federal Service on Surveillance in Healthcare and Social Development)

As reported earlier, in order to disseminate the experience of the Public Council on Patients’ Rights Protection at the Roszdravnadzor, on January 25, 2008, Roszdravnadzor Head N.Yurgel signed the #210-Pr/08 order  ‘About establishing public councils at Roszdravnadzor departments in constituent territories of the Russian Federation (RF).’


In accordance with the order, public councils must have been established at Roszdravnadzor Healthcare Departments before April 1, 2008.


On February 12, 2008, Roszdravnadzor issued the Recommended Practice book ‘About establishment and activities of public councils at Roszdravnadzor Departments among the constituent territories of the Russian federation.’


Eight months later after the order was published, all Russian constituent territories saw Public Councils at the Roszdravnadzor Territory Bodies established in full.


The first Partial overview of the activities of public councils at Roszdravnadzor Territory Bodies based on Internet and media materials as of September 14, 2008 is presented here:

“Looking through materials at hand and those available on the Internet and in media, it follows that the councils have been staffed with medical profession representatives, lawyers, journalists, scientists, public people. Generally speaking, the establishment and beginning of the activities of councils are developing positively and with good dynamics. There is every reason to believe that thanks to these activities, it will not be long before the society has a robust network of public experts being council members, who will be able, without bias, to assess situations in the healthcare, to provide recommendations to the state and local governments with regards to improving things in the healthcare, while the Roszdravnadzor gains an effective field for the state and communities to debate.


Membership in the majority of the councils is promising in that quality work will be performed in regions. Well, one can see it in their work plans, for instance, in the work plan of the Public Council on patients’ rights protection at the Roszdravnadzor in the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic for 2008 (http://07.reg.roszdravnadzor.ru/Default.aspx?pageid=61&pageindex=12).


On the other hand, while establishing councils in a number of regions quite a lot of physicians and few people independent of the medical profession have entered the council staffs, which presupposes inclinations in developing work plans and viewpoints of such councils that would reflect problems mostly of the medical profession, and, therefore, cannot ensure that actual problems of patients and in healthcare in general are found out and solved. Thus, in the Irkutsk region, 12 council members out of 18 are respectable people, nevertheless belonging to the medical profession elite in this Russian constituent territory; they are the heads of state medical education institutions and state medical organizations, of medical associations, they are public officers and just other persons who are dependent on the healthcare system in the RF. In the Kurgan region, three council members out of 8 (which is plainly understaffed) are officers of the Roszdravnadzor Territory Body along with its head. Should two healthcare officers join this number, who have entered the council, then effective work can hardly be expected there. Still, we believe that drawbacks like those will be eliminated under the influence of different factors, including, for instance, public pressure, while the heads of Roszdravnadzor Territory Bodies ought to carefully pay attention to staff ratio.


Unfortunately, very few councils managed to have the commencement of their work covered in media. The details of their activities are either unavailable or can be accessed on formal websites only that are poorly visited. In this respect, it is worth mentioning that, by the establishment of councils, it is expected, in particular, to initiate definition of problems in healthcare and active discussion of those in the community. This objective cannot be solved without media. However, the activities of the Councils in the regions of Tatarstan and Tomsk are positively contrasting, as they are reflected in numerous good publications.


Another difficulty must be paid attention to, which is the correct positioning of councils within regional bodies of power. Keeping in mind that councils are consultative bodies only within bodies of the Roszdravnadzor, it makes one doubt that they have the right to give recommendations (in effect, instructions) to state’s bodies.


For instance, a number of important recommendations to state’s bodies have been given by the Decision of the Public Council at the Roszdravnadzor Department in the Kirov region as of July 31, 2008 (http://43.reg.roszdravnadzor.ru/Data/Sites/files/PubSovet/Решение%202%20общественного%20совета.doc); as an example goes, ‘To recommend the Department of Penitentiary Service in the Kirov region to take measures on keeping to standards…


…To recommend the healthcare department in the Kirov region to carry out an analysis of complaints, … to take measures aimed at more stability in providing people with pharmaceuticals…’


As a matter of fact, the actions taken in this particular decision are undoubtedly important and correct, however, in a situation like this the council is reduced to mere asking the above-mentioned authorities to consider a relevant issue, since it is clear that these authorities are not obliged to follow recommendations and instructions of a public council at the Roszdravnadzor Territory Body. Knowing one’s niche is essential, for to claim one’s needs too hard may obstruct the council’s activities altogether, and other agencies may turn a deaf ear to the council because of its unprofessionalism in finding a way to collaborate and a position. I don’t claim this will happen but it is quite possible, and one cannot fully justify the risk – the problems seem delicate and need patience, don’t they?


Here is another example of misunderstanding of ‘who is who?’: as the website of the Plenipotentiary representative on human rights in the Perm region (http://ombudsman.perm.ru/news/2008/04/11/1419/?) reports, the Chairman of the Public Council of the Roszdravnadzor Territory Body was elected there. However, the Council Chairman is appointed as the head of the Roszdravnadzor Territory Body, since the Council itself was established at that authority’s order. Fair election is simply out here.

Thus, regardless of someone’s wish to have more democracy and, at the same time, the rule of power, the Public Councils are what they are. In particular, they cannot carry out examinations at their own decision, for they have not been granted this right (unless there is a relevant decision by a Roszdravnadzor Territory Body); they may consult people but must do it for free. In point of fact, councils are no panacea, and they cannot protect patients in Russia as they have neither money nor powers to do so. Nevertheless, they are still quite helpful as an institute of Civil Society, as a consultative and advisory body, and we all need to correctly make a use of this opportunity.


I wish you every success as you start these wide activities!


Margarita Mikheeva


Vice-President, All-Russian Public Organization of Disabled People with Multiple Sclerosis”