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Opening ceremony for large-scale pharmaceutical production facility

November 26, 2020, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Vladimir Putin attended, via videoconference, the opening ceremony for a new large-scale pharmaceutical substances facility at the BratskChemSyntez factory of the Pharmasyntez Group of Companies.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends.

I am delighted to welcome you, especially for a positive event, because today a new modern facility for the production of pharmaceutical substances is opening at BratskChemSyntez factory, a facility of the Pharmasyntez Group located where you are now in Irkutsk Region.

I would like to begin by saying that increasing the capabilities of the national pharmaceutical industry, to which we have always given serious priority, is of vital significance for the country and the people, especially at this time, as we are all aware. Therefore, first of all I would like to thank all those who were involved in the implementation of this large-scale project.

The Minister and the Prime Minister told me just the other day about the company, this facility and your capabilities.

The new facility that is being launched today will allow us to increase the production of effective high-quality medications, including those used in the treatment of the coronavirus, tuberculosis, diabetes, hepatitis and other serious diseases. People need these medications virtually every day.

I would like to point out that your company is greatly contributing to the replacement of imported medications and increasing their affordability for people.

Last but not least, the development of such high-tech pharmaceutical facilities brings about new jobs, greater demand for forward-looking technologies and the products of our research teams, stronger export positions for Russia and, of course, growth zones in the regions.

We will continue to support such projects and set such objectives to our development institutions.

We have been implementing a programme for the development of our pharmaceutical industry for many years, and I know that it has been quite effective in your case and has provided the necessary assistance. I hope you will talk about this today.

We must continue creating comfortable, stable and predictable conditions for the work of businesses and investors in this sphere, for partnership between our companies and with foreign partners, and we must also establish platforms for the work of our researchers and educational centres. All of this is a very large and vitally important complex for the nation.

In conclusion, I would like to once again thank you all for the results of your work. And of course, I would like to wish you every success and all the best.

Go ahead, please.

Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov: Mr President,

You described the expansion of domestic pharmaceutical production as the main goal for the development of the pharmaceutical industry as early as in 2015. Now we are facing the task of mastering the full-scale manufacture of 215 strategically important medications from the new list that has recently been approved by the Government. We are already producing more than half of these substances.

We managed to achieve a similar result with a much broader range – life-critical medications. Almost half of them are also fully based on domestic primary products and are now being produced by over 40 Russian companies.

As you know, Mr President, we are paying special attention to new projects that allow us to increase the level of localisation and broaden the range of domestically produced medications as much as possible. In the past three years, about 4 billion rubles of budget investment have been directed towards such projects via a state programme and development institutions. In addition, companies invested about 5 billion from their own funds for this purpose.

By launching new capacity, this company alone will be able to achieve a fivefold increase in production. As for the range of pharmaceuticals produced by that company in general, their sectoral amount will instantly double. I am referring to the 32 socially important medications that you have mentioned that have already been produced: TB, hepatitis, and diabetes as well as 15 items that the company will manufacture next April for cancer treatment.

At the same site, the company is launching the synthesis of substances for anti-COVID medications. Owing to its new capacities, the company will produce over 100,000 packs of the much sought after favipiravir by the end of December. Next year, it will be able to produce about 600,000 packs of this medication.

The company is also ready to produce at least nine tonnes of substances for antibiotics a year.

The company is planning to master the production of several new items from the recent list of medications recommended for treating COVID. President of the Pharmasyntez Group of Companies Vikram Punia will report on this.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Punia, please.

President of the Pharmasyntez Group of Companies Vikram Punia: Good afternoon, Mr President.

I would like to begin by thanking you for finding the opportunity to attend the opening ceremony of the BratskChemSyntez pharmaceutical substances facility.

For any producer of finished pharmaceutical products, the production of pharmaceutical substances amounts to moving up to a higher level. Synthesising raw materials is a much more complicated job than producing finished medications. In our case, it was an immensely difficult job indeed, because the company only produced finished medications before and did not have the synthesis competencies: we did not have the necessary technology or personnel to do this. In fact, we had to create a new culture, the culture of producing high-tech pharmaceutical substances.

Actually, we had been working on this project for five years. We cooperated with universities, institutes and various other partners through the Industry and Trade Ministry and other institutions. Eventually we reached our goal: today we are ready to launch a large-scale facility for the production of pharmaceutical substances.

We can turn out modern substances for the production of antiviral medicines such as Favipiravir, Lopinavir and Ritonavir, as well as antibacterial medication such as Linezolid, Levofloxacin and Moxifloxacin. Incidentally, these medications have been recommended by the Healthcare Ministry for the treatment of COVID-19.

In my opinion, BratskChemSyntez is a kind of a springboard for us, because the new facility can produce approximately 100 tonnes of substances a year. With this knowledge, and aware of the manufacturing difficulties this entails, we are preparing to design a new facility with the capacity of over 1,000 tonnes of pharmaceutical substances. Mr President, this is more than 8 percent of the substances the country is using now.

Of course, we have achieved these results thanks to state assistance. In particular, I would like to express gratitude to the Russian Government and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. We received various forms of support, including a lease payment subsidy, a subsidy from the Irkutsk Region administration, connection to power lines, the construction of roads towards the factory, and so on. In addition, the Industrial Development Fund allocated us the country’s first loan worth 300 million rubles at a very low interest. These factors will have a powerful effect on our further development.

Mr President, I have one more request for you. In fact, as you know, according to the results of the Pharma-2020 state programme, significant progress has been made in the country's pharmaceutical industry. If we look at where we were in 2010 and where we are now, these are two completely different levels. We have achieved so much, real success, especially in generic drugs manufacturing, and as you know, more than 80 percent of vital drugs are now made in the Russian Federation.

Mr President, as someone familiar with the industry, I would like to suggest that we continue this progress – and the progress can only continue if we adopt the Pharma-2030 programme in full, the way it was written by the pharmaceutical community and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Because I am sure, again, as someone competent in the pharmaceutical industry, I can say with confidence that if the Pharma-2030 programme is implemented, Russia will become one of the leaders among the biggest pharmaceutical powers. I can say this with certainty, with over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.

I have looked at your company’s work. We are always watching the pharmaceutical industry of course, but your company, indeed, focusing mainly on generics, is increasingly developing its own facilities and expanding the capacity for original projects. This is very important because it consolidates our independence, especially with regard to vital drugs. Indeed, I am looking through my reference here, you already manufacture 170 types of medicines and indeed, I can confirm, 80 percent of those are on the list of vital and essential drugs.

There is something I would like to thank you for especially – the facilities established in various Russian cities, not only in Irkutsk Region, where you are located, but also in Ussuriysk, Tyumen, St Petersburg and Bratsk. You started preparing the expansion before (you have been on the market for a long time), but this large internal development programme did not start until 2014. I know that you plan to reach full capacity at this facility in 2021.

But you are certainly right: we need to extend the pharmaceutical industry’s development programme. We formulated this programme, and the Minister said that we started drafting it in 2015–2016. Is that so, Mr Manturov?

Denis Manturov: In 2010, Mr President. You set us the task of starting with generics. In 2015, you instructed us to start converting to original medications and, most importantly, substances.

Vladimir Putin: That is clear. When did we allocate the funding? When was this programme formulated?

Denis Manturov: Since 2010.

Vladimir Putin: That is right.

Of course, we should now think what we are going to do until 2030, and how. We must certainly do this, and this is a good proposal. So, we will certainly think about this together with you and your colleagues overseeing the Russian pharmaceutical industry.

Mr Kobzev, you have the floor.

Irkutsk Region Governor Igor Kobzev: Mr President,

Production facilities have reached design capacity, and this is an important milestone in the history of the enterprise and Irkutsk Region, but also, considering the scale, of the entire national pharmaceutical sector.

We are particularly pleased to note that Irkutsk Region is home to these high-level production facilities. This means not only jobs, employment, but a positive social environment in Bratsk. The 150 people already working at these enterprises support 150 families who are raising children and building a future. The number of jobs will eventually reach 250.

Today, the development of enterprises creating modern jobs and providing social support for employees is the foundation of any region’s socioeconomic development. We aim to establish and expand new production facilities and projects. This will make it possible to strengthen the region’s economy, to create thousands of jobs and give young people a good start in their lives and careers.

Mr President, in conclusion, I would like to thank you, the Government of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Mr Manturov personally, and our investors, including Vikram Punia, for paying special attention to Irkutsk Region and for quickly resolving matters at this difficult time for all of us.

Thank you. I would like to congratulate everyone once again.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

Mr Manturov, you have the floor.

Denis Manturov: Mr President, please allow us to launch production.

Vladimir Putin: You can begin.

Congratulations once again, everybody.

As far as I know, the first stage was designed to manufacture ten tonnes of medications. The second stage, to be completed in 2021, is to produce 120 tonnes and 45 types of medications. This is a serious step forward. I expect that we will together do everything possible to take this step. As our colleague has just noted, we will think about the subsequent steps of the entire national pharmaceutical industry until 2030.

Congratulations once again, and I wish you all the best.

Thank you very much.

November 26, 2020, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region