Why this story matters:
The government already has banned US-produced software in state institutions (including schools), and food imports from the EU and the US, driving up the food prices by 10-20%. In a country with 22 million people living in poverty, and millions more teetering on the poverty line, a move like that has huge impact.
If the drug ban is approved, an untold number of Russian citizens will suffer, and very likely die without life-saving medicine. More than 1 million Russians have HIV, and drugs used to treat them come largely from the US.
It doesn't seem to matter: one Russian MP recommended that people use herbal remedies, such as oak bark, and "spit out" U.S.-made drugs.
Though the attempt to ban drugs could amount to homicide, the government seems determined to go forward. This is just more evidence that the Russian government is ready sacrifice the well being of its people to prove its readiness to go to war.
Details from the story:
- The Russian government and parliament (State Duma) have proposed a new set of "counter-sanctions" that would ban the import of about 1,000 drug brands from US companies.
- The proposal has caused an outcry from patients' and doctors' unions: a petition against it has collected over 95,000 signatures, and the vote has been postponed until May 15.
- On Wednesday, the State Duma Speaker defended the bill, saying it proposed to ban "only" 1,000 drug brands, all of which can be replaced by the locally-produced equivalents.
- Patient unions disagreed, saying these imported drugs are higher quality and have far fewer side-effects than home-produced substitutes.