Court upholds license, fines pharmaceuticals firm

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MOSCOW, November 15 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow's Arbitration Court has upheld the license of a pharmaceuticals firm, but fined Bryntsalov-A by 40,000 rubles ($1,500) for violations of licensing requirements, a RIA correspondent reported from the courtroom Wednesday.

The court partially honored the suit filed in mid-October by a healthcare watchdog, which demanded a license suspension for the firm controlled by Russian pharmaceuticals and vodka oligarch, and a former presidential candidate, Vladimir Bryntsalov, following a series of inspections by the service and police, the latter reporting counterfeit medicines uncovered at the company's storehouse.

"The court has acknowledged the violations in Bryntsalov-A's activities, but chose not to suspend its license but fine the company," said Isamutdin Gusenbekov, head of the law department of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Public Health and Social Affairs.

Speaking to reporters following the court session, Gusenbekov said "the ruling is too mild, and could have been tougher."

Both the plaintiff and the defendant said they will appeal the ruling.

Bryntsalov-A earlier called on the service to withdraw the suit, saying that all violations uncovered by inspectors have been corrected and arguing the suspension of its activities will damage the company and undermine a government program to provide medicines for the poor, to which it contributes $450,000 worth of medication.

Bryntsalov-A, which basically produces cheaper domestic substitutes for foreign brands in demand in Russia, has a bad reputation, with some pharmaceutical companies suspecting it of producing unlicensed medication, although of high quality.

The service recently launched a campaign to curb the spread of counterfeit products on the Russian pharmaceuticals market, saying counterfeit medicines account for 50% of the market. But market players put the figure at only 4% per cent.

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