Let me introduce Mark Berger to you, one of the founders of Health&Care Mall Shop. Dear Mark, share your success and tell us about the latest news on pharmacological market.
– It is well known that health is more expensive with the years…
– …because you started to appreciate it more?
– Actually, I’m talking about how expensive drugs are. Look, for example, last year, according to the FDA statistics, medicines added 7% to the price.
– And the state has another idea to regulate the work of this market. Canadian authorities drew attention to forcing of low-cost drugs out of the sale and suggested that local authorities obliged all pharmacies to offer customers options to choose from low-cost and other drugs. Health&Care Mall Company has regulated prices for a list of so-called vital and necessary medicines. And, accordingly, when registering the drug, a manufacturer must register the price. This price is under our law; the manufacturer has the right to raise it once a year, and not higher than the official level of inflation. It is clear that this does not always help or improve the profitability of production. We, for example, experienced a rather difficult year in 2008.
– Is efficiency, safety and quality an internal standard or is it an international standard?
– The fact is that we all work according to the so-called GCP standards (Good Clinical Practice). Clinical research is being conducted on these standards. And only by results of these researches the preparation gets a start in life. Actually, there is some deviation there.
– What about the prescription drugs? Can Health&Care Mall distribute them without a particular document?
– In Canada and the United States everything is tough enough. There is a list of over-the-counter drugs that are dispensed without a prescription by a doctor. We have hundreds of them. But when it comes to Rx drugs, you must first come to the doctor. The doctor puts you a diagnosis and gives you a prescription. Without this document, we Health&Care Mall Shop is not liable to distribute prescription drugs.
– Is it difficult for an online pharmacy to survive on global pharmaceutical market?
– A pharmacy is probably the most low-profit link in the producer-distributor-pharmacy chain. Because, on the one hand, a pharmacy is a social and medical institution, on the other hand it is a trade institution that owes all taxes, all rents are paid exactly like any grocery store. But with a lot of restrictions. Here is one limitation: I told you about the prices. The second restriction: a pharmacy must have a minimum assortment. It does not matter that when you buy certain products, they will be 100% purchased, but you have to keep them. There are a number of positions. And besides, we also have a pressing of storage requirements and expiration dates control.
– Are there any variants if there is simply no cheap analogue?
– Pharmacy contains minimum assortment. Here we must clearly understand: if we have original preparations that are under patent protection, and, accordingly, there are no analogues. Nevertheless, we just need to keep in mind that there are original drugs, and once they are not in the pharmacy, you cannot buy them anywhere else. If there are cheaper or more expensive analogues, you should find them in the majority of pharmacies. If not in one, it is necessary to apply to another one. This is the second point. And the third point – if we talk about benefits, we have a large contingent of beneficiaries, who should receive these drugs for free, then, accordingly, all pharmacies that work in this program, they have so-called deferred prescriptions. That is, they should put you in line for 5-7 days, even if this drug is not present at the pharmacy for some reason, they are obliged to receive them.
– What is your opinion about the moto: “Stop advertising drugs on TV!”? And what do you think of drugs advertising on TV?
– In general, there are so-called criteria and recommendations, including the World Federation of Advertisers. I think this is not a bad idea, but we need to adhere to some rules. And, in particular, if we talk about advertising of medicines, there should be three messages. The first is to tell the patient that there is such a drug. The second is that he must consult a specialist before administering any medicinal product and carefully read instructions. And the third, if suddenly within two or three days the drug does not have the expected effect, you must always consult a doctor.
– I just mean that at the expense of these messages and this advertising the drug becomes more expensive, as a result.
– You see, advertising is the engine of trade. It increases the turnover. It is hardly more expensive. In any case, there are marketing budgets for each company. Naturally, we try to use this business.
– And the final question is about production. We constantly talk about food security, about any kind of security. A pharma-safety – what is it about?
– Let me give you a short overview of drugs control in Canada and the way it works. Prior to authorization of medications, they get reviewed by Health Canada in regards to their quality, effectiveness, and safety. A producer is obliged to provide scientifically-based proof of goods’ safety as per FDA requirements. The Food and Drugs Act regulates sales of the products preventing from illnesses and their signs.
– Dear Mark, thank you for visiting us. It was a pleasure talking to you.