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Essential medicines keep flowing to Russia, but sanctions could severely effect health

BMJ 2022; 376 doi: (Published 21 March 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;376:o745
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Boycotts, a brain drain, and the collapse of the rouble are among the factors undermining a healthcare system that was already under strain before the Ukraine invasion, Owen Dyer reports

Dozens of drug companies have promised to keep sending essential medicines to Russia, despite announcing varying degrees of withdrawal from the Russian market, amid unprecedented sanctions being imposed on the country in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

“We cannot stop the flow of our medicines to Russia,” Pfizer’s chief executive, Albert Bourla, told Yahoo Finance. “Always with sanctions, medicines are excluded. Ending delivery of medicines, including cancer or cardiovascular therapies, would cause significant patient suffering and potential loss of life.”

Like many companies Pfizer has chosen other ways to disengage from Russia. It will stop conducting new clinical trials there, although existing studies will continue. And the company …

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