Pharma giants explain stance on new clinical trials in Russia
Several major international pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Lilly and Sanofi have issued statements, announcing the suspension of new clinical trials in Russia in light of its military campaign against Ukraine.
On Monday, Pfizer Inc. took a stand on Moscow’s offensive, denouncing the “brutal situation it has created.” The US pharma giant said that it would “no longer initiate new clinical trials in Russia.” Additionally, the company will “stop recruiting new patients in our ongoing clinical trials in the country,” with such research being transitioned to “alternative sites outside Russia.” However, Pfizer stressed that it was committed to “providing needed medicines to the patients already enrolled in clinical trials” in the country.
Other measures taken by the pharma giant in response to the war in Ukraine include the cessation of all planned investments in Russia as well as the earmarking of all profits of Pfizer’s Russian subsidiary to be donated to the people of Ukraine.
The company will, however, continue supplying essential medicines to Russia in line with its “foundational principle of putting patients first.”
Eli Lilly and Company has made a similar decision regarding its Russia operations. In its Tuesday statement the US company announced that it was suspending “all investments, promotional activities, and new clinical trials in Russia, as well as the exportation of non-essential medicines to that country.” Lilly though will still be delivering cancer and diabetes medicines to Russia, with all profits generated going to humanitarian causes.
French multinational healthcare company, Sanofi S.A., released a statement on Monday, saying that the company is “aligned with the position of the international community to put an end to the invasion.” In response to Russia’s actions, the pharma giant “made the decision to suspend with immediate effect all of our advertising and media activities in Russia” as well as “any new spending not related to the supply of our essential medicines and vaccines.” Sanofi also pointed out that it would continue “ongoing clinical trials that involve Russian patients” as well as the supply of “life-saving or essential medicines and vaccines to the people of Russia who need them.”
However, the French company did not specify in its statement whether it would launch any new clinical trials in Russia, simply adding that its approach “will be regularly reviewed given the volatility of the situation.”
Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper reported on Thursday that AbbVie and MSD, too, have decided to put on hold clinical trials in Russia. According to the outlet, none of the above pharmaceutical companies have officially notified Russian authorities of their decision to suspend research in the country so far.
Since February 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the beginning of a military campaign against Ukraine, Russia has been slapped with a raft of unprecedented economic sanctions, targeting, among other things, its central bank’s reserves, and several major commercial banks. On top of that, numerous foreign companies have suspended their operations and investments in Russia.
Moscow claims that it had no other choice but to intervene militarily as there was a direct threat to Russia from Ukraine. According to President Putin, Russian forces’ main objectives are to “demilitarize and denazify” the neighboring country. On Wednesday, the Russian head of state also said that Moscow had proof that the US had been conducting research involving dangerous pathogens in secret laboratories across Ukraine.
Kiev and its Western allies dismiss all the above as merely a pretext for “unprovoked” aggression against a sovereign nation.