The representatives of leading specialized Russian companies and organizations including “Yandex”, “Pharmacy chain 36,6”, “Medsi”, “Erkapharm”, “Nizhpharm”, “STADA”, “Rigla”, “Bayer”, Ozon.ru, “Ulmart”, Apteka.ru and others took part in the event.
Opening the meeting, the Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation, the Chairman of the Internet Development Institute Council German Klimenko noted that the topic of distance selling of medicinal products would be the subject of particular attention at the upcoming Forum “Digital medicine” in February next year for which the preparations are under way right now. In order to compile all proposes from sectors, to identify the weak point and to find the existing contradictions a dialogue of all parties is necessary, as German Klimenko called for:
“Over the past one and a half years we have been actively involved in the issue of digital medicine. Our combined efforts made it possible to overcome the lack of progress in the adoption of the so-called “Law on telemedicine” that was recently signed by the President of Russia. The path to this was challenging, there were many contradictions and questions, especially on the part of the medical community, but through a dialogue we managed to smooth the path to a consensus. Now we would like to carry out similar work in the issue of legislative regulation of online medicines selling which has a comparable specific. Doctors are still very distrustful of the topic, but at the same time representatives of the Internet industry and ordinary citizens attach great expectations thereto”, German Klimenko remarked.
Addressing the round table participants, the President of the Russian Association of Internet trade companies Alexey Fedorov noted that the only way for the legislative regulation he saw at the moment was to go down the same path, which the Ministry of Finance tried to take in the issue of online alcohol trade regulation, namely to allow the selling of medicines at egais.ru. “In this case everything will be perfectly clear for all the participants: a customer will know that a company is a good-faith and officially declared one, and it will be apparent for Roskomnadzor (Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications) and all the Internet providers that the zone should not be blocked, while it will be accessible only under an approval of a supervisory body. It is a very logical and simple decision, from our point of view,” Fedorov noted.
The vice-president of the joint-stock company “Nizhpharm, STADA, Ivan Glushkov, told the audience about the opportunities of integration of the system “Digital healthcare”, in particular, of “Digital prescription” with information systems of pharmaceutical industry.
During the discussion a debate arose which made it possible to identify some key areas of tension in the issue of distance selling of medicinal products and creation of digital prescriptions. In particular, the general opinion among the participants was that the modern market is not prepared for the selling of prescription medicines with use of the Internet resources. In order to arrive at it, it is necessary to debug the system with OTC products first, and later, based on this experience, to introduce a wider application of online trade opportunities.
The participants drew a special attention to the issue of the quality of medicines delivery in the case of online purchase. In this field, in the experts’ view, there is a lot of space for regulation which should be
clearly and wisely set out while medicines cannot be sold on the same basis as conventional goods, and they should be delivered in specially equipped vehicles meeting all the requirements for keeping and transportation.
The discussion also targeted the issue of control over the activity of the Internet resources performing medicines selling, the transparency of their work and the quality of the delivered services, while that is a matter of human life and health. Moreover, the customer must have a clear understanding of where to appeal when obtaining sub-quality goods.
Alongside controversial questions it was also noted that the “from hand to hand” delivery should be carried out by a pharmacist, who is obliged to explain the instructions for use of medicines in the similar manner as at a traditional pharmacy. The delivery terms of medicines, especially of the life-saving and essential ones, cannot be delayed for too long, and it would be very difficult in remote areas of the country.
Summing up the results of the discussion, the Presidential Adviser German Klimenko highlighted the need for a further dialogue and promotion of concrete proposals. That is the only way to address the identified problems.
“There are a lot of contradictions in this topic, but yet there are a lot of possibilities for improvement of quality of human life and health. When the progress forges ahead and digital technologies penetrate all spheres of our life, we cannot stand by and wish it away. We need to negotiate and find a solution. The process is already launched, I hope, that by the start of the Forum on digital medicine in February we will have something to present to people”, German Klimenko emphasized.