While some are counting the losses caused by the coronavirus to their business, others are rapidly increasing their super profits. The main thing is that outwardly everything looks quite decent - with care for people. In fact: drugs with "unproven efficacy", private covid hospitals for the elite, and terrific COVID-19 testing contracts. And the main thing, of course, is the closeness to power.
Actually, from the very beginning it was clear that those who manage to find their place in the fight against coronavirus will certainly hit the jackpot. In Russia, as, indeed, throughout the world, in the past few months there has been a tremendous rise in prices for antiviral drugs. Especially, of course, they took apart the promoted brands that "can be trusted." As it happened, for example, with the drugs "Arbidol", "Tamiflu", "Amiksin" and "Ingavirin", the volume of sales of which showed a fantastic growth. Sales of the same arbidol in March, in comparison with February, according to analysts from DSM Group, increased by 179 percent (in monetary terms - up to almost 1.3 billion rubles), ingavirin - more than one and a half times (up to 1, 2 billion rubles). And in April, interest in them did not diminish.
Yes, everything is simple, in fact. Back in January, when our country was just reading the news about the spread of COVID-19 around the planet and wondering whether it would get to us or not, enterprising manufacturers staged a massive attack on the consumer, including the catchy word "Coronavirus" in their advertising slogans. Plus contextual "enticements" in social networks, praising drugs on behalf of "those who are in the know," with a colorful description of how the Chinese … buy the same Arbidol in our pharmacies. Experts call this drug "fuflomycin" for the lack of clinically proven efficacy.
The FAS, meanwhile, announced in March that such advertisements violate the requirements of the law, since the drug's ability to fight coronavirus has not been proven. Anti-monopoly officials said that the statement about the effectiveness of the drug against coronavirus has not been confirmed, which means that it is wrong to use it. But this does not prevent the manufacturers of arbidol from promoting on their website the "miraculous" and most important property of the drug for today. Moreover, some time after the FAS comment, the Russian Ministry of Health issued recommendations for the treatment of COVID-19, which indicates umifenovir.
And umifenovir is, in fact, arbidol. And it is released by the company of billionaire Viktor Kharitonin (43rd place in the Forbes-2020 list with a fortune of $ 2.3 billion). The history of the drug is as follows. It was developed back in Soviet times by the A. I. Ordzhonikidze and went on sale in 1974. Thirty years later, the trademark was acquired by Kharitonin's company under the name Pharmstandard, becoming one of its main products (like amiksin, by the way, too). And since then, in fact, other pharmaceutical manufacturers can only envy the popularity of Arbidol: after a while it took the lead in sales in the country!
True, a cool business idea was almost covered in 2007, at its very takeoff: at a meeting of the Presidium of the Formulary Committee of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, a resolution was unexpectedly adopted: efficiency ". … Including arbidol. The problem, however, was quickly fixed.
Two years later, the drug was first included in the state list of "Vital and Essential Medicines" - first as an immunostimulant, and then as an antiviral drug. And in the same epidemic season, when there was just a swine flu pandemic, it was considered almost the main means to fight the disease: Tatyana Golikova herself, who at that time headed the Ministry of Health and Social Development, oversaw its presence in pharmacies. As a result, in the first half of 2010 alone, over 35 million packages of arbidol were sold!
And the pharmaceutical industry itself, by the way, was then supervised by Golikova's husband, Viktor Khristenko: first as the head of the Ministry of Industry and Energy (in 2004-2008), and then, after the reorganization of the department, as the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (until January 2012). In 2013, OTCPharm was separated from Pharmstandard to sell OTC drugs.
And since then, the new player has been doing very well: today it is one of the leaders in the domestic market for the sale of pharmaceuticals, whose sales value in March of this year alone amounted to 5.2 billion rubles, an increase of one and a half times compared to February. And such an increase, as you might guess, is just the same with an increase in the sale of antiviral drugs, primarily arbidol.