Jan 3, 2022
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Who made money from the pandemic?

Who made money from the pandemic?

Almost two years that have passed since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic have shown that not all residents of the country have been affected by the new disaster.

The number of entrepreneurs who have enriched themselves is in the hundreds, and last year there were even two new dollar billionaires in the country.

“MN” found out who was able to cash in on the common misfortune.


“Sputnik” is the most sensational, popular and widespread vaccine in Russia, so it is easy to assume that its manufacturers have received the most serious profits over the past year. It is known that 11 contracts have been signed for the production of Sputnik with a total value of almost 100 billion rubles. By August 2021, 30 million doses of this drug were produced with a total cost of 57 billion rubles.

The journalists managed to find out that the main producer of the vaccine was the Pharmstandard structures owned by Viktor Kharitonin. They took over 82% of the total production volume and have already manufactured Sputnik worth 33 billion rubles. The second place is taken by the Lekko holding, which got 11% of the total production – the vaccine was produced here for more than 6.1 billion rubles. In third place is the holding “Generium” – it has already released “Sputnik” for 6.5 billion rubles.

The research centers themselves also make money on the production of vaccines, which, it would seem, are only obliged to develop these miracle drugs. But the scientists showed a business vein and took over part of the production. For example, the Gamaleya Center, whose head Alexander Gintsburg periodically calls on Russians to inject the Sputnik invented by his organization, produces this vaccine himself. It takes about 2% of the total volume of ready-made vaccines, having received about 1.3 billion rubles for this. The KoviVac vaccine is also produced by the developers themselves. By the end of the summer, the Chumakov Scientific Center released a million doses worth 433 million rubles.

The pandemic spurred the growth in the export of vaccines and other Russian drugs abroad. In the first five months of 2021, 159 tons of vaccines of various directions were exported from the country. The budget received $ 303 million for this product. Interestingly, over the past three years, Russia has exported much more drugs abroad – more than 468 tons. But the revenue was much lower – only $ 182 million. Experts say the main purchases are made by Argentina, Kazakhstan and India.


Since the beginning of the pandemic, they managed to earn more than 30 billion rubles on COVID tests. The main income comes from taking PCR tests for COVID-19. It is known that the cost of reagents for this procedure ranges from 170 to 350 rubles, while private offices ask clients from an average of 2-2.5 thousand rubles. The price depends on the scale of the laboratory: the larger the purchase, the cheaper the consumables are. The average markup to the final cost is about 100%, and for some commercial clinics it is 150-200%. The managers of commercial medical institutions themselves attribute this to related costs.

“Do not forget about the salary of a nurse who takes a smear, and a laboratory assistant who diagnoses biomaterial, renting premises, electricity, utilization of biological waste that cannot simply be thrown away like ordinary garbage,” says Konstantin Ryabtsev, a spokesman for one of the clinics.

Experts believe laboratories and clinics have benefited as much from the pandemic as vaccine manufacturers. “During the pandemic, everyone noted a fairly high increase in demand for private medicine. Everyone was afraid to go to state medical institutions with their ailments, including those that were inconspicuous. Polyclinics just choked at this moment from COVID-19. Therefore, the demand for private medicine has increased, ”said Nikolai Prokhorenko, First Vice-Rector of the Higher School of Health Organization and Management.

Known statistics for the largest clinics. For example, the Gemotest network before the pandemic had revenue on average a little more than 5 billion rubles, and its net profit was no more than 110 million rubles. At the same time, in 2020, the organization’s revenue grew 3 times, and profit – 50 times, up to 5.58 billion rubles.


On the third place in the list of lucky ones, online stores are firmly entrenched. During the period of self-isolation, Wildberries increased the number of buyers by 2.3 times compared to the same period last year. In April 2020, people bought 180% more goods than a year ago, and in the first half of May – already 2.6 times more. It is not surprising that the owner of the online platform Tatyana Bakalchuk became the richest woman in Russia – her fortune grew by 1200%, to $ 13 billion, and in terms of growth she was in second place among the world’s billionaires.

Online store Lamoda reported 28% revenue growth in the first quarter of 2020. Delivery pharmacies have practically become rich. The point is not even that the number of orders quadrupled; sellers were also able to play on the prices of goods. For example, in Ryazan, one of the drugstore chains advertised, offering to buy the famous “Arbidol” for 930 rubles, and this at a discount. Two months earlier, the same package of the drug was sold for 170 rubles. The sellers of medical masks did not miss their happy moment either – in Moscow one product could be bought at a price of 60 rubles and more. The product was in great demand and it was not possible to find it in every pharmacy.

Natalia Purtova.


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