Aug 16, 2022
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Prescription drugs will be sold virtually

Prescription drugs will be sold virtually

The government approved a bill on remote sale of prescription drugs. So far, Muscovites, residents of the Moscow region and the Belgorod region will be able to buy drugs online.


Until recently, the sale of medicines via the Internet in Russia was prohibited and was considered illegal. Only in 2020, during the pandemic, the situation changed. Russian President Vladimir Putin has officially allowed the sale of drugs online, but only those that are sold without a prescription. It was assumed that in this way it would be possible to provide the population with the necessary supplies of medicines.

And today we are talking about allowing the virtual sale of prescription drugs. Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said at a cabinet meeting that all the formalities had been agreed upon in the prescribed manner. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin supported this initiative. “The President gave us instructions on the regime, and everything has been worked out on legal management,” he said.

So far, this will only be an experiment that will take place from March 1, 2023 to March 1, 2026 in Moscow, the Moscow and Belgorod regions. It is believed that this is where the infrastructure is most ready for such changes. And they will be serious. “Pharmacists must ensure the identification of the identity of the citizen to whom the prescription was issued with the identity of the citizen to whom it was delivered,” the press service of the Ministry of Health explained. According to officials, the introduction of a new mechanism for the purchase of medicines will increase their availability for all Russians, including citizens with limited mobility, as well as patients with chronic diseases.

Meanwhile, drugs containing narcotic, psychotropic and potent drugs will still be available only in pharmacies. The ban on distribution via the Internet will also include radiopharmaceutical and immunobiological drugs. It will not be possible to buy products with an alcohol content higher than 25%.

It is known that at first it was not the Ministry of Health that planned to conduct the experiment, but the Ministry of Economic Development. It spent a whole year developing the legal framework for this innovation. It did not turn out very well: the state-legal department of the President of the Russian Federation spoke out sharply against the sale of prescription drugs. Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova was not enthusiastic about the initiative either.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economic Development continued to put its idea into practice, and in the end it still succeeded. At a meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and National Projects, Vladimir Putin instructed to finalize the documents and submit them to the government for consideration within two weeks. But in the end, the Ministry of Economic Development was removed from supervising the project, and the Ministry of Health was appointed responsible.


So far, the authorities have not officially announced whether only pharmacy websites will sell drugs or whether marketplaces will also be allowed to do so. There seems to be a lot of heated debate around this issue. Representatives of medicine and pharmacology insist that only they should get such a tasty piece of the market.

“The question about the participants in the experiment on the online sale of prescription drugs is a question about the health safety of Russians. The marketplace, by definition, cannot play a major role in this process, since, according to licensing requirements, pharmacies are responsible for the sale of drugs. However, it can act as their partner, providing customers with access to an online showcase,” said Maria Litvinova, head of the Soyuzpharma pharmacy association.

Experts are already saying that there is a prerequisite for the successful implementation of innovation – this is the appearance in the life of Russians of an electronic prescription. We are talking about the information field that unites medical, pharmacy organizations and patients. The attending physician draws up a prescription in electronic format, signs it with his electronic signature. The patient does not receive an electronic prescription on paper, as it is already in the database. A person is told which pharmacy has the drug. There you need to present your passport, SNILS or the QR code of the application.

“The digital format of the prescription eliminates the possibility of forgery and allows you to confirm the authenticity of the prescribed drug from the doctor. Now more than 30 regions of the Russian Federation are trying to introduce electronic prescriptions, and in the future, when the experiment is over, the remote sale of prescription drugs will be able to quickly spread to most of the country,” says Kirill Khromov, director of the First Electronic Prescription company.

By the way, the authorities of the Belgorod region began to introduce this technology in March 2019. Now this region is the only one where you can get medicines in commercial pharmacies using an electronic document. True, this method is not very popular among Belgorod residents – residents of the region still prefer to receive recipes written on paper.

Natalia Vladimirova.


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