12 January 2009

Development strategy – a course for innovation

Svetlana Romanova, Remedium magazine No. 4-2008

Recently, the medical industry has been under the close attention of the state and the public. At various levels of government, issues of industry development strategy, improving competitiveness, quality, efficiency and safety of medical products, etc. are being discussed. The logical continuation of these positive processes was the creation in December 2007 of the Department of Chemical and Technological Complex and Bioengineering Technologies in the Ministry of Industry and Energy of Russia in order to regulate the situation in the industry and ensure its long-term dynamic development. S.A. Tsyb, Head of the Department of Chemical and Technological Complex and Bioengineering Technologies of the Ministry of Industry and Energy of Russia, who headed the new Department, told about the prospects and main directions of development of one of the socially significant branches of the economy – the medical industry at the exhibition "Rosmedprom-2007".

The state of the industry = the level of healthcareCurrently, Russia's healthcare needs for high-tech medical equipment and highly effective medicines are supported by the priorities of the country's socio-economic development.

For the successful implementation of the PNP "Health" and ensuring the technical equipment of the federal centers of high medical technologies, it is necessary to form a national technological base. The solution to this problem involves the development of production on the territory of the Russian Federation and the introduction into healthcare practice of high-quality medical equipment, instruments, single-use medical devices, as well as modern and effective medicines. Russia has a developed scientific and industrial base for these purposes. Even during the period of perestroika, as part of the conversion, about 300 enterprises of the defense complex mastered the production of medical products and specialize mainly in the production of medical products.

Despite the existing potential for the development of the industry, since 1991, the number of world-class developments has significantly decreased at the enterprises of the defense industry. This is explained, on the one hand, by the long–term stagnation in the development of the defense industry itself, on the other hand, by the closure in 2002 of the Federal Target Program "Development of the medical industry in 1998-2000 and for the period up to 2005", which determines the formation and development of the national technological base for the domestic medical industry.

As a result, the production of modern highly informative and high-tech, automated devices and apparatuses, in particular computerized ultrasound diagnostic devices with color images, high-field magnetic resonance tomographs with a superconducting magnet, gamma and X-ray tomographs, has not been established in Russia. Modern medical diagnostics can no longer do without such a class of devices.

As for the situation in another sub–sector of the medical industry - the Russian pharmaceutical industry, it can be described as quite complicated: more than 80% of medicines are made from imported substances, the production of antibiotic substances has practically stopped, most drugs produced by the domestic industry are generics, and the increasing dependence on the import of medicines exceeds all permissible limits, threatening the national security of the country.

The pharmaceutical market in its dynamism can only be compared with the market of high–tech products - modern electronics, communications, computers and software. In this regard, he is no stranger to some problems common to high-tech markets. Thus, from the point of view of the innovation process, there is a clear segmentation on the basis of innovation: the share of dominant foreign manufacturers accounts for almost 100% of innovative products. Of the thousands of drugs produced by Russian enterprises, only a few can be considered original, most of the registered tokens of domestic production are generics. Thus, the innovative potential of the Russian pharmaceutical market is concentrated in the hands of foreign manufacturers. Of course, objective economic factors contributed to this, such as financial and personnel shortages, the peculiarities of the regulatory framework, the state of the material base of enterprises, universities and clinics, the peculiarities of the Russian economy and the Russian market. The structure of drug consumption differs significantly from the usual for most Western countries: the largest share of the market is held by drugs with a long history of presence on the market. In addition, the system of market incentives for pharmaceutical research does not always take into account the needs of healthcare.

The formation of high–tech potential is the key to the successful development of the industryIn the conditions of global competition, the one who occupies a worthy place in the high-tech market is ahead.

Unfortunately, in this market, which exceeds the raw materials market in terms of volume, Russia is not yet in the forefront. And the problem is not in the absence of innovative developments and technical solutions, but in their involvement in business turnover, in the business environment.

We also face this problem in the medical industry. Unlike other areas where the level of technological security is only decisive in the issue of economic growth, the development of the medical industry is an important factor for the demographic situation, the level of national health and national security.

The scenario of innovative development chosen by Russia assumes the concentration of resources in the main sectors of the country's economy, on priority innovation and investment projects, a limited number of key industrial technologies for which Russia already occupies leading positions or has real prospects of achieving them.

The medical industry today is a high-tech industry where Russia has all the opportunities to compete in a decent way on world markets. Our competitive advantage is the price-quality ratio. It is important to turn this reserve into a resource for expanding the presence of domestic manufacturers in the domestic and global market.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development of Russia is already taking concrete steps to solve problems related to the development of the country's drug and medical-technological support. The construction and commissioning of federal centers of high medical technologies, the implementation of the DLO program, the provision of diagnostic equipment for medical institutions, as well as sanitary vehicles for state and municipal institutions and units providing emergency medical care and specialized (sanitary aviation) emergency medical care - all this is inextricably linked with the formation of high–tech potential for the development of domestic medical industry.

Strategic directions of the industry developmentThe Ministry of Industry and Energy of Russia has formulated its position in the field of development of the medical industry, including a number of priority areas of work.

We believe that it is mainly necessary to stimulate the development of the domestic market of medical equipment. The state has already done a lot in this direction, and first of all, this is the national project "Health". In our hands there is another important tool for determining demand – the formation of a report card of the equipment of medical institutions. The second direction of our actions is public procurement and the definition of tender conditions. We need to improve legislation in terms of creating priority for domestic producers, as is customary in international practice.

The most important direction is to support R&D on the creation of new types of modern highly effective medical devices and innovative drugs. It is impossible to take a leading position in the market of medical products without investing in the development and introduction into production of new types of these products.

The next direction is quality control of medical equipment used in Russian medical institutions. On the one hand, it is an incentive to improve the quality of medical products manufactured in Russia, on the other hand, it is the closure of the Russian market from low–quality suppliers and thereby ensuring patient safety.

One of the main directions is the formation of a list of medicines and medical equipment that ensure national security for the country: antibiotics, vaccines and serums, painkillers, insulin, medical instruments, including syringes and single–use needles. In other words, a kind of list of "critical technologies" in the medical industry should be formed, as has already been done in the defense industry. When purchasing medicines from this list, priority should be given to Russian suppliers. Accordingly, the same "critical" list should be provided with financial support for R&D.

And finally, the last thing we all need to fight hard against is our own infrastructure constraints. I am talking about the unwillingness, for various reasons, of the real sector of the economy to accept the results of the latest domestic scientific research and development. In order to obtain an adequate economic effect, it is necessary to significantly reduce the conversion time of an innovation from the sphere of "knowledge generation" to the sphere of production. These tasks should be solved through a system of end-to-end planning and management of innovation implementation processes from the development stage to the stage of their commercial use.

Portal "Eternal youth" www.vechnayamolodost.ru12.01.2009

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