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Meeting of Commission for Modernisation and Technological Development of Russia’s Economy

May 24, 2011, Moscow

Dmitry Medvedev chaired a meeting of the Commission for Modernisation and Technological Development of Russia’s Economy held at I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University. The meeting was dedicated to Innovation Technology in Children’s Healthcare.

Supplying children with highly effective medicines, in particular the development and introduction of the latest technologies in vaccine production, was discussed at the meeting. It is planned to manufacture a significant portion of vaccines in Russia, using the experience of major foreign companies.

In addition, the meeting participants focused on the prospects of developing modern technologies for diagnosing and preventing diseases, the production of medical technology in Russia and the development of nuclear medicine.

In his opening remarks, Dmitry Medvedev announced that he had signed an executive order on the establishment of the Federal Service for Intellectual Property.

Before the meeting, the President viewed an exhibition devoted to the latest scientific achievements in healthcare, in particular in the treatment of tuberculosis, cerebral palsy and cardiovascular diseases in children.

* * *

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Colleagues,

Today is May 24 and this is the 24th meeting of the Commission for Modernisation and Technological Development of Russia’s Economy, so we have been working for two years. This in itself is not a reason to summarise our achievements, though a certain period of time has elapsed and reforms have been launched in five priority areas of modernisation.

Most importantly, there is a set of specific projects in each area, which, as we all hope, will give Russia priority, and in some cases, if we work hard enough, will enable us to gain leading positions in the respective markets.

I hope the results will become increasingly clear in the coming months. This applies to energy technology, energy efficiency, the production of quality low cost medications in Russia, the provision of electronic services to individuals and companies, the availability of broadband Internet and a host of other areas.

We launched many projects with state participation. It is encouraging that a significant portion of these projects is implemented with the participation of private capital, which testifies to the proactive approach of our business community.

Finally, we are trying to improve our legislation in this area. Many laws have been adopted in recent times; it took great effort to adopt some of them while others were passed fairly easily. This Commission worked on many of those draft laws.

”Our country has many problems. We have been trying to address issues quickly but some complications take months to resolve. The pace of reforms must be increased.“

I would like to inform you that today I signed an executive order on the establishment of the new Federal Service for Intellectual Property. The Service will take on some of the responsibilities of the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks and FAPRID [Federal Agency for the Legal Protection of Military, Special and Dual Purpose Intellectual Property] with redistribution of powers in the relevant areas within the Government. I hope that after the reorganisation of the service, or rather of other services, the Government’s efforts in this sphere will become more productive.

Our country has many problems, and some of them became apparent because of the modernisation projects we have launched; we have been trying to address issues quickly but some complications take months to resolve. It is clear that the pace of reforms must be increased.

Today's meeting of the Commission is dedicated to the use of the latest technology and methods in children’s healthcare. This topic was not selected randomly. It is clear that advanced technology and modern medicines and equipment give doctors a real chance in the fight against intractable diseases. Most importantly, it means that children’s health can be restored and children’s lives saved.

We have repeatedly discussed issues related to children's healthcare and the prevention of childhood diseases. A series of meetings I held this month with doctors, representatives of non-profit and charity organisations, and parents of children with disabilities was devoted to this topic. All these meetings were intense and emotional.

I issued instructions to the Government and regional leaders after practically each of these meetings. Highly complex issues were discussed in the course of the meetings. I would like to stress once again that our active approach is often the decisive factor in resolving these problems.

”It is also crucial to develop domestic production of medical equipment, the quality of which should be equal to foreign analogues. This is a great challenge but I am confident we can find effective ways to tackle it today.“

During a recent meeting with public associations working with sick children I realised that, unfortunately, not all of Russian regions pay attention to this issue. They have meetings in Moscow and St Petersburg but I asked the heads of those public associations about some other places and they said it was easier for them to meet with the President than with their own region’s governor. That is a great shame. I would like the Presidential Executive Office to monitor the implementation of these instructions and the regional leaders’ response.

The first thing we should focus on today is the provision of highly effective medicines to children, which should be modern and safe, and available in age-appropriate dosages. Russian paediatrics does not have a sufficient arsenal of officially sanctioned medications yet, and this is one of the problems.

Many paediatricians are forced to take risks prescribing unregistered drugs to their patients, or, what is perhaps even worse, defer treatment indefinitely. Therefore, it is vital that we change this situation with account of international experience.

Incidentally, according to the World Health Organisation, there are no paediatric medications – I stress, no paediatric medications – for 75% of childhood diseases. According to our Academy of Medical Sciences, 90% of drugs that are prescribed to newborns are not registered for use in this age group, so they are giving adult medications to newborns. In addition, vaccines must be created for dangerous infectious diseases, both by launching the production of recognised drugs and the introduction of new vaccines.

The second issue concerns the staff of children's hospitals. Needless to say, it must be highly professional, that much is obvious. There is also the issue of modern medical equipment. I hope that it will be partially resolved through regional healthcare modernisation programmes which are currently being implemented. 

It is also crucial to develop domestic production of medical equipment, the quality of which should be equal to foreign analogues. This is a great challenge but I am confident we can find effective ways to tackle it today.

When I first focused on this issue as part of the work on the Healthcare Priority National Project five years ago, Russia produced almost no medical equipment, and what we did produce was of poor quality and even looked worse than foreign-made models. We have made a substantial leap forward in these five years. Much of Russian-made medical equipment is consistent with international standards.

”It is extremely important to engage our foreign colleagues in the development of high-tech medical equipment and innovative medicines. It is imperative to create joint research facilities and businesses.“

What is the problem? The problem is often the cost. I have just viewed a large number of equipment samples, and they are hugely expensive. I don’t even want to tell you the figures. Obviously, if our medical equipment is produced at such high cost it will inevitably lose out to foreign models.

As a result of today's work I would like us to draw up lists of medicines, medical equipment and medical supplies to be used in paediatric care, and proposals on the organisation of production.

It is also necessary to consider adjusting the National Calendar of Vaccination in the shortest possible time.

A few words about the development of nuclear medicine. We considered this issue in Obninsk. The bulk of work on the nuclear medicine development project map is finished. Today we must decide on the sources and time scale of financing and determine the scope of this project.

Finally, I will return to the development of high-tech medical equipment and innovative medicines. It is extremely important to engage our foreign colleagues in this project, including leading foreign companies and higher educational institutions. It is imperative to create joint research facilities and businesses, and to use the mechanism of so-called offset deals, which has been launched per my directive.

Innovative medical projects should also play a major role. They must be implemented at various technoparks, and, of course, at the Skolkovo Innovation Centre.

Let us get down to work.


May 24, 2011, Moscow