Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko warned people not to stock up on medications as many expect shortages and price increases as a result of Western sanctions over Moscow's military operation in Ukraine
Credits: YEKATERINA SHTUKINA / AFP

Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko warned people not to stock up on medications as many expect shortages and price increases as a result of Western sanctions over Moscow's military operation in Ukraine

Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko on Wednesday urged people not to buy extra supplies of medicines as many fear shortages and price hikes due to Western sanctions over Moscow's military operation in Ukraine.

"I want to tell the public: you don't need to stock up," Murashko said during a televised cabinet meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

"The suppliers say that deliveries are continuing as planned," he stressed.

Murashko said that monitoring of pharmacies had found that "there were shortages of a number of drugs", which he linked to panic buying.

In March sales of some medicines such as anti-convulsive drugs and thyroid drugs had gone up 10 times in the first week of March, after the Russians launched a military operation on February 24.

Foreign-made anti-inflammatory drugs for children and also sanitary towels have been almost unobtainable in pharmacies since mid-March. Some online stores were quoting prices for these items that were 10 times higher than in mid-February. The harsh sanctions regime imposed on Russia that has battered its economy does not include imported medicines for ethical reasons.

But media reports have warned that Russian companies could be left without imported raw materials and components, while the local pharmaceutical industry is hugely dependent on these.

One major provider of pharmaceuticals to Russia is India, which continues to purchase Russian oil and has refused to join votes condemning Moscow at the United Nations.

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