With Russia’s Viagra supply cut off, authorities look to generics
Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry said Wednesday that it had taken steps to establish domestic production of generic forms of Viagra, the erectile dysfunction remedy, after the U.S. manufacturer of the drug halted supplies.
Medicines and medical equipment are not subject to the sweeping economic sanctions levied against Russia by the United States, Britain, the European Union and other backers of Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.
However, Western pharmaceutical companies have warned that supplies of their products to Russia could still be disrupted as a result of the sanctions that have severed Russian banks from the international financial system and have pushed major shipping companies to suspend their operations in Russia.
The U.S. pharmaceutical company Viatris, which manufactures Viagra, had informed the Russian government last year that it would stop selling the drug in tablet form.
On Wednesday, Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry told the Interfax newswire that while the medication used in Viagra, sildenafil, is not produced in Russia, Russian companies have the “technological possibility” to manufacture it, and that 36 companies had been issued registration certificates to do so.
In November, a Russian pharma analytics firm, DSM Group, reported that Viagra’s market share in Russia had declined by 22 percent in volume on a year-over-year basis, and by 5 percent in value, because of supply disruptions and competition from generics.
Immediately after the invasion, U.S.-based Pfizer announced that it would halt planned investments and all clinical trials in Russia, although it would continue to supply drugs to enrolled patients. Viatris, the Viagra manufacturer, is a spinoff of Pfizer.
While many companies have voluntarily reduced or ended their business dealings in Russia, Ukraine has demanded that pharmaceutical companies halt their operations, accusing them of siding with the aggressor.
In May, Kyiv adopted a law that enabled the government to remove medicines from the Ukrainian market that had been produced by companies with ties to Russia.
Russian news outlets reported Wednesday that dentists are also facing a shortage of certain imported drugs and equipment, including Vitremer cement, used in tooth fillings, and Ubistesin, a local anesthetic based on Articaine.
The manufacturer, U.S. company 3M, announced last year that it was leaving the Russian market. There is no local alternative to Vitremer in Russia. There is a locally produced anesthetic, Artikain-Binergia, but it is not available in sufficient supply.