Sales of medicines in Russia are expected to grow over 30% in dollar terms in 2008, which will push it into the top 10 pharmaceutical markets in the world, notes a new study.

According to research published by DSM Group, the overall market volume should reach around $18.4 billion, considerably higher than the $14.3 billion seen in 2007. The market research agency said that the key driver “behind the buoyant growth to be the increasing living standards of the population”.

Growth rates in the Russian commercial drug segment surged 30% to $4.55 billion, boosted by higher prices, while the parapharmaceutical (vitamins and dietary supplements) market is catching up as well. Pharmacy sales reached $1.75 billion.

However, the state-owned drug segment has been the fastest growing in 2008, with sales up 43% in the first half to $2.51 billion. DSM says that the reason for this growth was predominantly increased government financing of Russia’s Federal Reimbursement Program (FRP).

The DSM report comes days after a new draft policy was released by Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry envisages that, by 2020, Russian-made pharmaceuticals will account for at least 50% of the home market in terms of volume, and that no less than 80% of these products will be patent-protected innovations.