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Swiss sales of medicines to Russia jump during war

Swiss pharma sales to Russia hit an all time high in June this year. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Swiss exports of medicines to Russia have risen sharply since the start of the Ukraine war, according to an analysis by business news agency AWP.

This analysis, based on government foreign trade data, shows Swiss pharma generated record revenue of over CHF330 million ($342 million) in June alone from sales to Russia.

Russia has been subject to numerous sanctions owing to its war in Ukraine, which started on February 24. Switzerland has followed European Union sanctions, but medicines are excluded for humanitarian reasons.

Swiss pharma, with companies such as Roche and Novartis, has benefitted in particular. The sector earned more than CHF720 million from Russian sales from March to June 2022, according to the analysis. June was the most profitable month, with Russia spending more than two and a half times more than in the same month the previous year.

Thanks to the Swiss boom in medicine sales, total Swiss exports to Russia also reached a new record high in June 2022. In total, Switzerland sold goods to Russia worth around CHF430 million, more than at any time since 1992. Exports from the pharmaceutical sector accounted for over 80% of this total.

In contrast, exports of medicines to Ukraine have declined. In the first half of 2022, over 40% less medicines were exported to the war zone compared with the same period the previous year. Total export sales to the country, at around CHF91 million, were also 20% lower.


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