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Ani Hovhannisyan

Industry Spokesman Says Counterfeit Drugs Are a Problem in Armenia

Citing ethical considerations, Samvel Zakaryan , President of the Union of Drug Manufacturers and Importers in Armenia, refused to mention the names of drugs he says are currently produced in Armenia. At a press conference today, Mr. Zakaryan said, "I adhere to my ethical principles and cannot provide you with the names of these drugs. When you turn off the cameras I will list their names. I can only say that Armenian drug manufactueres have over 300 registered drugs in Armenia. You can ask any pharmacist for the locally produced version." Mr. Zakaryan said that the drugs produced locally display labelling in Armenian while the imported items mostly do not and that Armenian law does not demand such labelling. "It’s right that the law does not demand such labelling. We are a small nation and we just can’task foreign manufacturers to place Armenian instructions on 100 or even 1,000 pieces of a certain drug. The solution is what is done in Georgia. Georgian labels are placed on the item after it’s imported. Mr. Zakaryan agreed that Armenia faces a problem regarding the illegal manufacture of certain prescription drugs, especially those that are expensive. He says that the Union does not conduct specific oversight of the market, just general monitoring. In Armenia today there are fourteen drug manufacturing companies. Mr. Zakaryan argued that there was stiff competition amongst the twenty-seven companies engaged in the importation of drugs to Armenia. "Yes, there is competition. There are certain drugs that cannpt be monopolized. Exclusivity rights are granted with certain producers and only they are allowed to import the drug." In order to back up his claim that competition amongst importers exists, Mr. Zakaryan stated that according to his information all the importing companies are owned by different individuals.