Sales of mid- and high-priced drugs in Russia are steadily declining, due to the ongoing economic stagnation in the country and the consequences of the financial crisis, reports The Pharma Letter’s local correspondent.

According to a recent report, published by the Russian Ministry of Health, such negative trends force Russian patients to shift to cheaper drugs. The report states that the financial crisis in Russia has resulted in the cut of spending on drugs of more than 70% of Russians consumers.

According to Veronika Skvortsova, Russia’s Minister of Health, although Russian customers are not ready to refuse from further drug purchases, their spending on drugs will continue to decline by at least the end of the current year.

This is reflected by the official statistics of the Russian Ministry of Health, according to which drug sales in Russia are gradually declining. According to data of DSM Group, one of Russia’s leading analyst agencies in the field of pharmaceutics, in first-quarter 2016 the decline of sales was equivalent to 10%, compared to the same period of last year.

At the same time total sales for the reporting period amounted to 270.3 billion roubles ($4.3 billion).

Moreover, according to predictions of DSM Group, the Russian pharmaceutical market will grow by approximately 8% this year, compared to 2015 and will grow by 1.348 trillion roubles, as purchasing power of local population should increase by the end of the current year.

Prior to the crisis, the annual per capita drug consumption in Russia was 29 packages, which is equivalent to 4,700 roubles ($75).