Dietary supplements growing in CIS
In 2013 sales of dietary supplements in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries (Russia, find Ukraine, Kazakhstan) amounted to ?888m (at wholesale prices) and were fully 23% higher than the year before, according to a new report from PMR, ?Dietary supplements market in CIS countries 2014. Development forecasts for 2014-2018?.
Kazakh market: disproportionately high share
Russia has by far the biggest dietary supplements market in the CIS region, accounting for 70% of total sales in the three analysed CIS countries. Kazakhstan has a relatively high share of 10%, more than would be suggested by the size of its population. That is chiefly because the country does not have a well-developed manufacturing sector of its own and its dietary supplements market is dominated by global players, whose products tend to be significantly more expensive than locally produced ones. Last but not least, the differences in the amount spent, particularly between Ukraine and Kazakhstan, could be attributed to the fact that the average monthly salary in the former country is twice that in the latter.
Weak regulation of dietary supplement advertising in CIS countries
In May 2013, the Tenth Anniversary Meeting of the Coordination Council for Advertising under Interstate Council for Antimonopoly Policy (ICAP) was held in Kyiv. At the centre of attention was the issue of limitations pertaining to dietary supplement advertising in the CIS countries. In Russia, an amendment to the law on advertising was signed in July 2013. The document specified that every advertisement should warn that dietary supplements are not medicines. In Ukraine there are only partial restrictions: for example the content of dietary advertising must be approved by the relevant administrative body, but there is still no unified methodology.
In both Ukraine and Kazakhstan advertising cannot mislead consumers and should exclude the possibility of any comparison with medicines. Enforcement of these laws, however, is an entirely different matter. The Staff for the Joint Investigation of the Violation of Antimonopoly Law, during the Day of Competition which took place in Irkutsk on 9 September 2013, concluded that in the CIS countries there is a lack of adequate regulations devoted to the registration and circulation of dietary supplements. In the opinion of the participants, there has been insufficient research into dietary supplements which are safe for human health. They emphasised that there are numerous violations involving the misleading of consumers about the real efficacy of dietary supplements, which have, unjustifiably, become competitive goods to OTC drugs. The Federal Antimonopoly Service in Russia recommended that the whole region should: implement procedures which involve the checking of the trade names of dietary supplements and introduce a ban on the registration of dietary supplements with the same names as OTC drugs. The FAS added that the region should implement a pre-registration check of quality, efficacy and safety of dietary supplements; use the same rules for the production of dietary supplements and OTC drugs; implement the monitoring of the efficacy and safety of dietary supplements in the process of their circulation; compel pharmacies to inform customers via the shop window that dietary supplements are not the same as OTC drugs; and revise instructions in packets of dietary supplements.
Market participants from the countries analysed agree that there is a lack of relevant inspection of the dietary supplement industry at all stages, from manufacturing to sales. Bodies such as Rospotrebnadzor and the Federal Antimonopoly Service in Russia usually inspect large producers only. Unscrupulous companies are already cheating at the registration stage by providing misleading information on the product ingredients.
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