The American pharmaceutical giant MSD will halt its distribution of the hepatitis C drug Zepatier, a highly sought-after medication for treating hepatitis C, to the Russian market, Kommersant reports, citing a letter sent by the Ministry of Health cautioning medical establishments about the impending cessation of shipments. Although the Ministry subsequently retracted the letter, officials from Roszdravnadzor, the Federal Service for Surveillance in Healthcare, verified that MSD had indeed dispatched a notice outlining the termination of supplies.
According to Roszdravnadzor, the company is legally bound to notify about such decisions with a lead time of at least a year. Consequently, the planned deliveries for the year 2024 will remain unaffected.
Zepatier currently constitutes nearly 20% of all state procurements of hepatitis C medications within Russia. With an annual budget exceeding a billion rubles allocated for procuring this drug, Zepatier had been recognized as one of the most cost-effective solutions for hepatitis treatment.
The strategic change in MSD's engagement with Russia follows the commencement of the invasion of Ukraine. The company has already ceased the provision of vaccines for varicella, measles, rubella, and mumps, along with Raltegravir, a medication crucial in managing HIV.