Against Counterfeit Drugs: Expert says new draft law to deal with abuse on medicines market

The Draft law “On Medicines” adopted by the National Assembly will give an opportunity to deal more effectively with counterfeit medicines entering Armenia, said Gayane Khachvankyan, a National Consumers Academy of Armenia representative in charge of the pharmaceutics department.

The new draft law supposes setting the ceiling for any wholesale or retail price rate additions, as well as application of the reference price principle, which will be approved by the government after the passage of the bill.

Khachvankyan said that there are drugs that can eliminate the genotype and the law “On Medicine” can be useful in this regard. According to her, control over pharmaceuticals is a serious matter not only in Armenia, but around the world.

“They counterfeit those drugs that are more expensive and are strictly necessary. Last year’s policy in Armenia shows that since joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), we have had serious risks, because the Russian market is infamous around the world as a major target for counterfeit drugs, and those counterfeited pharmaceuticals can easily penetrate into Armenia, and control is performed by the Scientific Center of Drug and Medical Technologies Expertise (SCDMTE),” she said. “I think the new law will empower the SCDMTE, which in turn will strengthen its activities.”

Melita Hakobyan, the head of the National Association of Consumers, speaking about the draft legislation, said that it looks good at first glance, but she sees a phenomenon of monopolization.

“As a rule, some laws, adopted in Armenia, seem good and if they were applied we would have a country with great democratic laws,” she said.

According to her, there are provisions, which concern advertising, administrative violations, penalties in the bill, as well as the government will adopt such regulations that will have a negative impact on consumers.

“Besides, I see monopolization risks in this draft law because there are different requirements regarding space, foundation, etc. Today, the president of our country, the prime minister are fighting against monopolies and here comes an abuse of monopoly position,” she said, adding that it would be better for the consumer rights advocacy organizations to be also present at the discussions and to deliver their feedback.