State Duma Deputy Sergei Lisovsky spoke about the fight against counterfeit veterinary drugs

State Duma Deputy Sergei Lisovsky spoke about the fight against counterfeit veterinary drugs

The problem with veterinary drugs and vaccines arose in connection with the introduction of sanctions against Russia. Some Western manufacturers have left our market, others are planning to do so… As a result, here and there there is a shortage of necessary medicines for animals. What should dog and cat lovers do? Many people literally do not get out of the Internet in search of the right drug. But not everyone and not always succeeds in finding something suitable. Alas and ah: it seems that we are late with import substitution in this industry.

“They disappear from hospitals and appear on marketplaces”

– Sergey Fedorovich, readers are complaining that the sale is full of counterfeit medicines for animals – both domestic and agricultural. What is the reason for this – after all, there is no such disgrace with medicines for people?

– With medicines for people, we really managed to solve the problem: firstly, they are prohibited from sale on marketplaces, and secondly, labeling has been introduced that ensures full traceability of turnover and excludes illegal sales.

The situation with veterinary drugs, unfortunately, is much worse – we have a huge amount of drugs that are unknown where they came from, their effectiveness has not been proven, and most importantly, they can be dangerous! Moreover, approximately half are completely prohibited in Russia. And when Rosselkhoznadzor decides to ban a particular medicine or vaccine for animals, they are withdrawn from veterinary hospitals and veterinary pharmacies, but immediately appear on marketplaces.

And it is very difficult to regulate the process. Starting with the fact that we have insufficient control over the activities of marketplaces – they just shrug their shoulders at all claims: they say, we didn’t know, the sellers are on their own, we are not responsible for the goods of suppliers, we only provide an electronic shelf…

– What is the way out? Counterfeit products do not cure animal diseases, but often, on the contrary, aggravate them…

– Only the introduction of labeling, as was done with medicines, can help combat counterfeit products. The Government of the Russian Federation has decided to begin an experiment on applying digital codes to veterinary drugs from December 1 this year, and this measure will allow the state to trace the path of animal drugs from the manufacturer to the final consumer.

This practice has been in place in other product groups for several years and has proven its effectiveness. Today we have complete information on their production, movement, sales, and, accordingly, the quality of these goods is guaranteed.

By the way, after the introduction of drug labeling, many cases were identified where drugs for certain social groups of the population, which were provided free of charge in hospitals, were written off and sold for money in pharmacies. Now such cases are impossible – precisely thanks to labeling.

– Should the same be administered with veterinary medications?

– Certainly. Today you can buy whatever your heart desires on the Internet. But such purchases do not provide a guarantee of quality. In the first quarter of this year, the North-West Interregional Directorate of Rosselkhoznadzor monitored 468 Internet sites to identify the sale of imported supplies of veterinary drugs labeled in a foreign language and the facts of their sale without a license.

A simple search, which took me no more than half an hour, revealed many such proposals. For example, flea and tick control, to control blood pressure in cats, to treat Cushing’s syndrome in dogs…

But according to the law, everything that is sold in Russia must be accompanied by packaging in Russian. Otherwise, this is a direct violation of the law, which indicates that the drugs have not passed either certification or testing in the Russian Federation.

“Unknown veterinary substances will leave the market”

– But there is a shortage of imported medicines and no labeling will fill it. Do we have a program for import substitution of veterinary drugs?

– We work a lot in this direction and here we must pay tribute to Russian virologists and veterinarians. Quite large volumes of our vaccine are exported abroad.

– Judging by reader mail, many foreign drugs that were previously in high demand have disappeared from sale. Is there any way to improve the situation?

– We are not against supplies from abroad. But provided that they have been certified in our country and have information support in Russian. In practice, it turns out that a foreign company that has left our market continues to supply goods. However, not directly, as before, but through third countries – for example, through China, Kazakhstan…

Various scammers immediately took advantage of the situation and “attached” this flow of supplies with their counterfeit goods. The process turns out to be uncontrollable. We are forced to take adequate measures.

– What is the ratio of domestic and foreign veterinary drugs on the Russian market?

– In the industrial production of farm animals, we cover approximately 70% of the needs with our products. Even in relatively recent times, we had this practice: when we purchased farm animals abroad, suppliers also forced veterinary medications on us. Explaining that if we do not use their medicines and vaccines, then they cannot give guarantees on livestock productivity. For this reason, we almost destroyed our own production of such products.

I remember in the early 2000s there was an incident at my poultry complex. The chickens began to eat poorly, gain weight poorly… The cross was imported, and veterinarians began to advise us on how to cure the birds – to use such and such foreign medicines. We calculated how much it would cost us: an additional 1.5 rubles for each head. A kilogram of chicken then cost about 35 rubles. That is, an immediate 3.5% increase in cost.

Well, I had qualified specialists. They suggested recalling the Soviet experience instead of imposed imported products. We installed ultraviolet lamps in the workshops and fed the chickens with ascorbic acid. And everything just went away.

Instead of additional costs of 1.5 rubles per head, we spent only 7 kopecks. And most importantly, if we had followed the lead of the veterinarians, our birds would have become addicted to those same expensive imported drugs and would not have been able to show productivity without their constant use.

– So how can we bring order to this market? You talk about labeling, draw an analogy with medicines for humans. But this is probably not the same thing?

– As I already said, we already have experience, the system has been worked out and has proven itself well, including in the group of pharmaceutical products. And the packaging and packaging of products is not much different here and there. From December this year, manufacturers of these drugs will begin to prepare, install additional equipment…

– But this will also affect prices?

“Today we hear similar lamentations from veterinary vaccine manufacturers and from associations. Let’s not, they say, that now is such a time, it’s already difficult for us, there are additional problems, including financial ones, that need to be postponed until later… Although, in my opinion, conscientious vaccine manufacturers should be in favor of experimentation and labeling, because that all unknown veterinary substances will leave the market, it will become easier for them to work, and they will be able to increase their own sales volumes…

– Still, maybe it makes sense to listen to the opinions of market participants? Many complain that labeling greatly increases production costs. How long?

– Nothing like this! These malicious violators of consumer rights are beginning to prove that the cost of goods will increase by 10-15%. We have been marking medicines for more than two years, and on average the increase in cost ranged from 70 kopecks to 1.2 rubles per package. And packaging, as you know, costs an average of 300 rubles. So it’s not really that big of an increase. Pharmacies may well not charge this ruble – and then the consumer won’t even notice anything. But here, of course, all trade organizations do not like to reduce their profits, and try to shift costs onto the heads of either producers or consumers.

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