Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, birth rates and male
life expectancy have suffered sharp declines and Russia's
population is expected to decrease further over the next decade
as a result of deaths caused by poor health.
Alcoholism is a major problem and half of all deaths in
working-age men in Russia are caused by excessive drinking.
The rate of infectious diseases, such as TB, has also gone
up and there is a growing HIV/Aids epidemic in Europe, mainly
from a rise in injected drug use that followed the social and
economic upheavals of the 1990s.
Drug abuse is growing at an alarming rate planting long-term
consequences for the health of the Russians.
It is clear that the Russian healthcare industry needs a
complete overhaul. Healthcare costs are rising, while the
quality of healthcare for the majority of Russians who are not
very rich remains sub-standard. Mortality rates from serious
chronic diseases grow while the Russian pharmaceuticals
industry is incapable of supplying Russian patients and
hospitals with the necessary drugs.
Each year, 1.3 million Russians die from cardiovascular
disease, more than 300,000 people die of cancer. Another
150,000 become handicapped. Cancer survival rates in Russia are
the worst in Europe. The five-year survival rate from all types
of cancer in Russia is at a dismal 43 percent.
The Russian pharmaceuticals industry has too many old plants
that are producing the cheapest and least effective medicines.
Only nine percent of those plants conform to international GMP
standards. As a result, more than 90 percent of drugs supplied
under the $1.3 to 1.5 billion a year federal drug reimbursement
program are manufactured by major international companies.