The Ministry of Health criticized the results of a pilot project carried out in two regions of the Russian Federation, during which Russian Post acted as a logistics operator for state purchases of drugs under the program of high-cost nosologies. In a letter from the department to the concerned ministries, it is reported that this has not yielded any savings and that the resolution of the issue of splitting lots for the purchase and delivery of drugs must be postponed. The department’s position was supported in the drug market – they believe that the emergence of a monopoly on it will reduce the quality of logistics. The Russian Post does not agree with such estimates: the company says that its delivery of drugs cost 20% less than the market.
The Ministry of Health is against the division of large government contracts for the purchase and delivery of drugs into smaller ones. The department informs about this in its letter (“Kommersant” has it) to the Ministry of Economy, the Federal Antimonopoly Service and the Ministry of Finance. Let us explain that now the majority of state customers of drugs (federal and regional ministries of health) form single large lots for the purchase and delivery of drugs. The head of Russian Post, Maxim Akimov, proposed making the company a single logistics operator in the segment of state orders for drugs and giving access to state sales to even those small drug manufacturers who currently do not have contracts with distributors.
In the summer of this year, first the President and then the Prime Minister gave instructions to carry out a corresponding pilot project with the participation of Russian Post. The experiment took place in two regions – in the Samara region and the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug) – and extended to the procurement of drugs for the treatment of 14 orphan diseases included in the program of high-cost nosologies.
In its letter, the Ministry of Health indicates that since the Russian Post in the Samara region does not have its own logistics infrastructure, it has entered into two contracts for the storage and delivery of drugs with the companies Samarapharmacia and Avtogeotrans.
According to the results of the experiment, the Ministry of Health writes, there were no cost savings, so the decision on the division of lots for the purchase and delivery of drugs should be postponed.
The Russian Post does not agree with this assessment of the Ministry of Health. “In Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, we delivered medicines on our own, and we attracted a subcontracting company only in Samara. Despite this, the delivery of drugs, according to our estimates, cost up to 20% below the market, ”the company’s press service told Kommersant. They also emphasized that all drugs were delivered in accordance with legislative norms – at the required temperature and on time (in the Samara region in one working day, in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug – in 20 hours).
The head of the All-Russian Union of Patients, Yuri Zhulev, believes that the Russian Post could have advantages over the distributors existing on the market: “Not all companies are ready to transport drugs to remote regions, while the Russian Post has branches throughout the country.” … However, says Marina Egorova, Vice President for Commerce and Marketing at NovaMedica, no one objects to Russian Post competing on an equal footing for the delivery of drugs in state purchases.
“The questions are raised by the company’s desire to obtain a monopoly position in this market,” she notes.
The creation of monopolies in any market is the first condition for reducing the quality of goods, agrees the head of DSM Group Sergey Shulyak. “The drug distribution market is imperfect, but now there is competition for state trade on it,” he notes. In addition, according to the expert, the Russian Post is just beginning to create an infrastructure for storing and transporting drugs (the company plans to engage in retail sales of drugs), and it is premature to talk about its participation in government procurement with large volumes of lots.
Note that, according to a Kommersant source, several years ago another major player, Rostec, came up with a similar proposal. Then the Ministry of Health assessed the prospect of the emergence of a single logistics operator positively, while representatives of the pharmaceutical market were against it.