Expert opinions

Russia’s 2020 medical exports

In 2020, Russia’s exports of medical products have been alternating. On the one hand, the pandemic inflated a greater demand for medicines, personal protective equipment and sanitizers. On the other hand, closure of state borders caused a few-months-long time lag and additional hardships in logistics.

Medical exports from Russia over the first six months of the year registered a 20.7% reduction compared to a year earlier. According to the Russian Export Center’s data, the overall portfolio has lost some $236,627K and amounted to $904,404K by the end of September. No doubt, the 2019 figure ($1,838,535K) will not be reached by the yearend.

A similar situation is observed in the medical services market. Its scope has been gradually declining. In the second quarter, following lockdowns and government imposed restrictions, it dropped by almost 50% due to shrinking supplies and tourist flows.

According to expert assessment though, medical equipment exports dropped by merely 6.2% as compared to 2019. Market players are nevertheless certain that the pandemic has demonstrated the need to increase investing in R&D in medicine, they therefore expect the market will recover and start growing in 2021.

Geographical distribution of medical exports has not changed. In the second quarter, major Russian exports were traditionally channeled to the countries of the CIS (34.5%), Europe (15%), East Asia (14.1%), Asia Pacific (20.6%), and Middle East (4%) with India, China, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Germany being major buyers. Over nine first months of the year value of exports to India, for instance, grew by 49.2%.

Moscow is a national leader in exporting medical products. In the pandemic environment demand for medical masks and breathing equipment has been growing. Between January and August, Moscow manufacturers supplied their goods worth $186 mio to 114 countries. Other major exporting entities have been Moscow Region ($125 mio), St Petersburg ($56 mio) and Nizhny Novgorod Region ($29.82 mio).

Despite a global lockdown, Russian exporters find new growth points as people have been paying more attention to their health, doing thorough checkups, and started to mainly shop online. Exporters also have more distributors in foreign markets who sell online despite the pandemic and instability of the world economy.

Market players hope to see a steady growth in exports of medical products since 2021. Such expectations are quite reasonable as the market is to experience diversification of manufacturing due to new cutting-edge hi-tech devices development and search for advanced methods of curing sophisticated viruses.

By Yuri Koryukalov, Neurophysiologist, NeuroTechnology LLC founder, Cordus and Sacrus devices developer

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