As far back in the time of Kyivan Rus, the area of today’s Kyrylivska Street hosted accountants and herbalists

In the XVIII century, a pharmacy was opened in Kyrylivska Church. It was established in a former church building on the second floor of the bell tower

Two centuries later, the pharmacies and chemist’s shops were gaining in popularity in the territory of Ukraine.
But still, most drugs were imported

The drugs import was stopped with outbreak of the First World War. And supply of ordinary people and soldiers with essential medicines turned out to be impossible

It was the time when the country realized the urgent need in domestic pharmaceutical production. One could not rely on the others in securing the health of population

From there, the history of Farmak begins.
It is deeply rooted in the history of Ukrainian pharmaceutical industry and the entire nation

So, let’s start…

Farmak background


New Politics

M.V. Lomonosov Chemical and Pharmaceutical Plant was launched in Kyiv thanks to implementation of the new liberal economic policy. That new policy improved the situation. Within the New Economic Policy, they established the trust companies — associations of similar or related enterprises with business and financial independence.

History of Ukrainian Pharmaceutical Industry


On the Eve of the First World War

Before the War, medicine and pharmaceutical industry were actively developing in the territory of Ukraine. There operated pharmacy-based laboratory and production facilities, in particular that manufacturing halogens (antiseptics), based on the drugstore.

As the First World War started, which eventually turned into a civil war, the import supplies stopped, but the demand in medicines, for obvious reasons, considerably grew up. Both the civilians and militaries suffered from epidemic outbreaks, the child and maternal mortality rate was very high.

Lacking the remedies (medicines, vaccines, medical equipment), people were unable to fight against the death.

Unfavorable Conditions

The Soviet regime, established in the territory of Ukraine, failed to ensure the effective administration, as consequence, the people had no access to the required medical assistance. The import stopped, and drugs and medical devices were in an absolute deficiency. It was just the beginning of domestic manufacturing.

One could expect the appropriate steps aimed at revival of supplies and turnover of these products, however, the Soviet Government made another decision.

The pharmacies and all pharmaceutical products were expropriated from the owners in 1918. Those, who disobeyed and failed to hand over the property, were persecuted by the government and punished cruelly.

In that troublesome times, the first attempts to restructure the pharmaceutical industry were made.

Technical and Formal Barriers

All production operations were implemented using the outdated technical facilities. The production capacities were insufficient, and the cost of drugs was too high.

In addition to technical problems, there was another problem. The plants in the Republic were not free to select the product range on their own, instead, the orders were made by the central administration.

Therefore, the domestic manufacturing had no opportunities for development, although, it was highly required by the population. That policy brought no favorable results, and eventually, the approach to economic activities management was changed.

New Specialists and Scientific Basis

The first half of 1920s was characterized by more favorable conditions for the pharmaceutical industry development. The New Economic Policy (NEP) enabled various forms of market and property relations, foreign capital attraction and monetary reforms.

However, they lacked qualified specialists; pharmaceutical manufacturing and pharmacy could not develop without relevant scientific and staff support.

Thus, in 1920s, there were revived and established the scientific and research centers and educational institutions to ensure the scientific and engineering personnel for the developing pharmaceutical industry.



of the Plant and the first products

Hard Times

The conditions for development of chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing were complicated. Newly established manufacturing lacked state-of-the-art equipment and the required number of professional staff. However, the task was to be accomplished.

The first KCPP success was achieved due to painstaking efforts of the personnel.

Despite All Barriers

Although, the plant lacked up-to-date equipment, and the manufacturing process was complicated, it was developing thanks to the staff’s determination. In the first years, the product range and overall production grew.

Industrial Development Rate

1930s was the period of the most active industrialization. According to the second five-year development plan of the USSR national economy, the domestic products were to replace at least 50 percent of the imported medicines.

Therefore, M.V. Lomonosov KCPP had to increase the production output. In 1931, the plant yielded products for 49.5 thousand karbovanets, including 600 kg of pure chloroform for anesthesia, 2 tons of chloral hydrate, and 3.3 tons of menthol.

At the same time, M.V. Lomonosov plant had another very important task — to implement new technologies within the shortest timeframes.

Reorganization Times

The development of pharmaceutical industry was affected by scattering enterprises, although, they were the subject to regular reorganization towards their concentration.

Back in 1929, Ukrmedtorg, controlling over M.V. Lomonosov KCPP, was reorganized into Ukrmedtorgprom. Already in 1930, there was established the All-Ukrainian Pharmacy Administration (AUPA) to which both the pharmacy chain and Ukrmedtorg manufacturing facilities were transferred.

However, the AUPA lacked the synthetic medicines manufacturing. On December 31, 1931, M.V. Lomonosov KCPP was transferred to Ukrkhimobiednannia, which already comprised several pharmaceutical enterprises (Chervona Zirka, Astra, Labor).

But as early as in June 1932, the Council of People’s Commissars of the Ukrainian SSR established the Temporary Bureau for Control of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries (Ukrkhimfarmbureau), to which M.V. Lomonosov KCPP and Chervona Zirka plants were transferred; Astra and Labor were transferred to the local industry.

In October 1932, Ukrkhimfarmbureau was reorganized into the Administration for Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries.

Twin Paradox

While the first five-year production development plan of 1928 required considerable increase of production disregarding the actual industrial capacities (the plan was, in fact, implemented in the period of the NEP closure), the second five-year plan for 1933-1937 was all the more extensive.

In the largest cities of Ukraine, namely, in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa there were revived and reconstructed the pharmaceutical factories and plants manufacturing the medical devices.

The production capacity was tremendously increasing. However, the supply was highly unsatisfactory due to the planned distribution policy.

Starting from mid 1930s, the word ‘deficiency’ stroke deep roots in pharmaceutical lexicon. It turned out impossible to rely on the problem solving due to importing of raw materials, since the government headed for release from the imported medicinal products.

Despite that, by the mid 1930s the USSR imported 30% of the required medicines, and the remaining 70% were the domestic products, upon commencement of the forced industrialization, the government implemented the austerity campaign resulting in a rapid import decline.

Black List

At that time, there was a list of the medicinal products, non-imported or non-manufactured in the USSR. That list included 138 drugs and 22 herbals, which the Soviet medical industry had to withhold.

Rather than solving the problem, the government decided to pretend that there was no need in certain medicines, even in that of great and constant demand.

Signs of Catastrophe

In general, the pharmacy chain development rate in 1930s was dramatically reduced, as compared to the latter half of 1920s.

Thus, in 1933, the system of All-Ukrainian Pharmacy Administration included 1322 pharmacies, 75 % of which were located in urban areas (998 pharmacies) and 25 % — in rural areas (324 pharmacies).

3 Considering that the urban population at that time was 7.2 million, one pharmacy was to serve about 7.2 thousands of customers.

But the situation in villages was a disaster. 24.7 million resided in rural areas, i.e. one pharmacy was to service 76.3 thousands of customers.

Furthermore, in 1932, access to urban districts, where the villagers could purchase the medicines, was restricted.

The tragedy of that time was famine of 1932-1933 having taken the lives of 5 million Ukrainians.


The First Challenge

The first breakthrough


In 1941, M.V. Lomonosov Kyiv Chemical and Pharmaceutical Plant started manufacturing of pharmacopeia resorcinol, and the output of chloral hydrate and chloroform considerably increased.

Additionally, the range of products was expanded greatly: the plant started manufacturing of 15 medicinal products, particularly, trichloracetic acid, methenamine, chloride and sodium carbonate, mercuric ammonium chloride and ether for anesthesia.

Upon commencement of the German invasion into the Soviet Union, there were taken the evacuation measures. From July till October 1941, more than 550 large industrial enterprises were evacuated from the Republic, including the enterprises of chemical and pharmaceutical industry, and medical and instrumental industry.

M.V. Lomonosov Kyiv Chemical and Pharmaceutical Plant with 30 employees and a part of the equipment were evacuated from Kyiv at the beginning of the War.

The plant was initially located in Voroshylovgrad [the soviet name of Luhansk from 1935 to 1958]. However, as the war began, military forces shifted the frontline very rapidly, and there was taken a decision to relocate the evacuated plants further to the east.

In a New Place

Eventually, M.V. Lomonosov KCPP was in Kazan. In its new place, from 1941 till 1943, the plant was operating as an independent enterprise.

Upon completion of construction works and mounting of technological equipment evacuated from Kyiv, there was started the production of highly needed monitors of X-ray units and chlorethyl, streptocide and trypaflavine.

Those products were required by military hospitals, especially on the frontline. Thus, in early summer 1942, the front doctors received the required medicines on a permanent basis.

In March, the Plant was affiliated with the Kazan Chemical and Pharmaceutical Plant, and, till return to Kyiv, the enterprise expanded the product range with invert sugar and tooth cements.

Back Home!

It is worth mentioning that the territory of the plant suffered only minor damages from military actions; however, the premises and property were plundered.

The personnel of the Plant had to overcome hard barriers of the time: difficulties of the post-war social and economic conditions in the city, restoration of the city streets and, more importantly, catastrophic lack of raw material and equipment.

Some part of technical equipment, evacuated to Kazan, was not returned to Kyiv, and raw materials, which could not be evacuated before occupation, were destroyed. Possibly, it was somewhat consoling for the plant employees, as the same deliberation prevented the occupant authorities from ensuring full-scale plant operation.

24/7 to Dream

In 1944, M.V. Lomonosov plant launched the manufacture of the first products: streptocide (30 kg per month), disulfane (10 kg), isaphenium (20 kg) and electrolyte (2 tons)

Unfortunately, the amount of products was insufficient, and the needs of medical establishments were high. Thus, to increase the production output, the plant staff worked 24 hours a day.

Recollecting the post-war times, F.S. Kotova, who headed a workshop, mentioned that during the period of the plant revival, the employees often stayed at production sites for 2-3 days, as all of them understood: the faster and the more medicines the plant produced, the closer would be the long awaited victory.

Work Goes On

By late 1944, the KCPP completely revived the manufacturing of methenamine and anesthetic chloral hydrate, calcium and sodium chloride.

In early 1945, the plant launched the workshops for menthol, validol and resorcinol production.

In 1946-1950, the manufacturing of quinifone, chinosol, Zincum valerianicum, acriflavine hydrochloride, synestrol, bromisoval, bromo-diethyl-acethyl urea, and other products was started.

Pre-War Situation

In early 1937, the retail price for medicines was reduced once more. Average cost of the prescription was only 90 kopecks. Due to this, the pharmacy system of Ukraine lost 12 millions of karbovanets of the gross revenue.

In 1939, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry of Ukraine ensured only 21%, i.e. 1/5th of the pharmacies’ turnover, although, Ukraine had sufficient industrial facilities.

War Time Logics

Attacks of the aggressor interrupted normal activities of all spheres of life, including the enterprises and scientific institutions of chemical and pharmaceutical industry.

In the first days after the invasion, 70 hospitals were established in Kyiv. As the aggressor approached the capital city, on 6 — 8 July, the hospitals were evacuated. Civil hospitals in the city were reconstructed, their capacity increased for almost 7,000 beds. By September 1, 1941, more than 27,000 injured have passed through the hospitals.

It is worth mentioning that according to the total war logics, everything, that could not be demounted and evacuated, was the subject to destruction, not to go to the enemy. However, the abandoned territories were still full of civil population (almost 30 million of inhabitants in the Ukrainian lands).

From the first days of the war, the production of medicines and medical devices was increased to provide the supplies to the army and healthcare institutions.


Due to loss of territories, the medical industry of the USSR produced only 8.4% of medicinal products, 44% of surgical instruments, 33% of X-ray and physiotherapeutic devices, 77% of bandaging materials in November 1941.

The army was supplied with the required medicinal products and materials, mainly, due to the reserves accumulated in times of peace.

In 1942-1944, the employees of enterprises and institutions evacuated from Ukraine to the home front, under exceptionally difficult conditions of military time, launched the alternate enterprises. Together with the enterprises from the other republics, they arranged manufacturing of the required medicines within the limited military range.

Battle for Life

In military actions and in the period of temporary occupation, German fascist aggressor caused major damage to the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Several enterprises were completely destroyed, buildings were ruined, and equipment, raw material and finished products were stolen. Pharmacies and pharmaceutical warehouses were destroyed.

Some enterprises were completely destroyed, buildings were ruined, and equipment, raw materials and finished products were plundered. Pharmacies and pharmaceutical warehouses were destroyed.

In time of liberation from the occupants, the Republic had only 13% of chemists and pharmacists as compared to the pre-war period.

Population of the occupied Ukraine lacked medical and pharmaceutical care. The pharmaceutical system was ruined, and occupational German authorities had no intention to restore it.

Sad Statistics

Through military actions, terrorist activities of Hitler’s forces, diseases and famine in 1941-1944, almost 5,000,000 people died in Ukraine, i.e., each sixth inhabitant.

All Over Again

With the return of the Red Army and the Soviet Administration, the pharmaceutical industry in Ukraine started reviving.

In February 1943, the Pharmacy Administration of Ukraine returned to Voroshylovgrad. Soon, it was renamed into the Chief Pharmacy Administration (CPA) of the People’s Commissariat for Healthcare, which employed only four specialists.

Pre-war administrative structure was restored on June 29, 1944, when almost all the territory of the USSR was liberated from the occupants.

Legacy of the War

Restoration of pharmaceutical industry was a long-lasting, complicated and painstaking process. The republican economy was ruined. Millions of disabled, injured and sick persons required immediate qualified and efficient medical care.

From Ruins to Victory

The pharmacy chain suffered great ruination: in the times of war, 1807 pharmacies (75% of the pre-war amount) and all pharmacy units were destroyed.

In 1944, 1138 pharmacies were restored (67% of the pre-war amount). As of June 1, 1945, 1071 pharmacies and 2707 pharmacy units were operating in the Ukrainian SSR. However, the shelves were empty.

Only in mid-June 1945, for over-the-counter sales in Kharkiv the product range limit was established: 40 items, amongst 12 were the simple medicines, and the others were endocrinology drugs and patient care devices.

In the capital city and in some Kyiv regional pharmacies, only headache pills, stomach drops, medicinal herbs, tea, certain endocrine drugs, items of care and perfumes were available.

In 1945, 485 freight cars of medicinal products were brought to Ukraine, which satisfied the demand for medicines only by 15-30%.

A Right to Distribution

Tons of effective medicinal products were supplied to the USSR according to the UNRRA plan (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration).

The Soviet government reserved the exclusive right to their distribution. There existed another source of drugs and equipment: the defeated Germany.

In 1946, Ukraine, additionally to the planned funds, received certain amount of imported drugs. Diabetic patients found that injections of American insulin were less painful, than that of domestic origin.


In USSR it Was the Only High-Capacity Plant

producing contrast media


Exclusive Developments

Well-known time-proven drugs

New Antibiotic from the KCPP

Thanks to automated lines implementation, M.V. Lomonosov Plant substituted the production of Synthomycin, a leading medicinal product in the plant’s medicines list, for a new antibiotic Laevomycetin.

A Present for the Anniversary

Personnel of M.V. Lomonosov Chemical and Pharmaceutical Plant developed a scheme to obtain oxymethyl raw material on its own, which greatly improved the economic value and allowed to export the antibiotic.

It is worth mentioning that previously, the Plant received oxymethyl raw material from the chemical plant in Chervono-Perekopsk or from the Akrykhin plant in the Moscow region.

Obviously, such long distance required considerable expenses for raw material supply.

Thus, as of the 40th Anniversary, M.V. Lomonosov Plant manufactured 27 products and was engaged in implementation of 1500 labor-saving proposals and inventions.

One more achievement!

1970s were distinguished by the record-breaking production volumes. In 1975, M.V. Lomonosov Kyiv Chemical and Pharmaceutical Plant produced 165 tons of Laevomycetin, which 4-fold exceeded the capacity planned by the project.

Plans and Reality

In 1960s, the industry faced the problem of non-efficient administration.

Another attempt to change the situation was the intervention of the higher party and government administration of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Council of Ministers of the USSR, which imposed a set of measures for construction, re-construction and specialization of chemical and pharmaceutical plants, improvement of production technology and organization of research and scientific activities.

However, most dramatic transformations were only on paper: e.g., construction of new chemical and pharmaceutical plants have never even started. Commissioning of new production facilities was complicated through the lacking equipment.

Bad Habits

The Central Committee of the Communist Party had to be a suppliant before the USSR Council of Ministers to ensure the supplies of the required raw materials and equipment.

The role of humble suppliants and ardent followers of the soviet government in the Kyiv-Moscow relations, adopted in the soviet period, brought up the non-state approach to solving the important matters by the party-government authority of the Ukrainian SSR.

The problems of the pharmaceutical industry also embraced the disrespectful attitude of administration towards non-essential area of commercial activities. There were the factors defining the industry problems for many years to come.

Supply and Demand

Due to non-efficient medicines production and supply management, the Ukrainian SSR experienced great deficiency of many medicines and medical devices.

By 1963, the list included the simplest medicines: iodine, analgin, magnesium, syringes etc. The Central Committee of the Ukrainian Communist Party proposed to solve a problem of medicinal product deficiency and to shift the responsibility to the Ukrainian industry provided that the over-plan products would remain in the Republic.

However, authority in Moscow did not supported that initiative — the government had no intention to change the product distribution scheme, and Ukraine was once again offered a one-time assistance.

The demand for medicines in the Republic was growing from year to year, however, the medicines were still distributed on a centralized basis (through, the MoH of the USSR), and the requests of Main Pharmacy Administration of Ukraine were never fulfilled.

Bottom Line

The audit demonstrated that in 1966 one-third of patients coming to the pharmacies in Kyiv and many cities of Ukraine were left without the prescribed medicines.



Success proven by external demand


1980s for M.V. Lomonosov Chemical and Pharmaceutical Plant were marked by reconstruction and production development.

In 1982-1990, at the plant there was constructed a separate site for radiocontrast substances manufacturing.

After solving the bureaucratic issues related to the plant provision with the required materials and equipment, the construction was finally completed in 1992.

The other achievement of that period was the development of hydrocortisone production.

Product Turnover Increase

The share of finished products sold through the pharmacies during 1968-1978 increased from 61% to 85%.

The range of medicinal products was more than 3,000 items, first of all, due to the increased import of pharmaceutical products.

The volume of imported products supplied to Ukrainian pharmacy chain was increased 5 times. In 1978, in monetary equivalent, it was 102 million of karbovanets, which amounted to 20% of the total product turnover of the Main Pharmacy Administration of Ukraine.

In 1968-1976, the Boryspil and Artemivsk medicinal product bases and 16 pharmacy warehouses were constructed and commissioned.

In 1978, 5,600 pharmacies operated in the territory of Ukraine, i.e., one pharmacy served the needs of 8,900 customers.

In 1970s, pharmaceutical science also experienced great development.

Trends of 1980s

In 1980s, the tendency to Republic healthcare import dependency became steadier.

Thus, 45% of medicines were supplied to the population through the pharmacy chain free of charge. Those products were anti-diabetic drugs, tuberculosis drugs, oncology drugs, and medicines for children under 12 months of age. A great number of benefit-entitled categories received medicines with 80% discount.

The trend of consumption growth stimulated speculative demand in certain medicines. Some medicines, specifically those imported, were in high demand and became the items of peculiar medicine fashion.

Under Control

Rapid changes in consumption, particularly, the emergence of „fashionable“ medicines, complicated the determination of actual demand in medicines. MoH of the Ukrainian SSR implemented the measures to monitor the uncontrolled medicines consumption.

Highly deficient medicines were prescribed on decisions of special commissions.

The request for deficient medicines contained history of disease and the patient’s full name. For those receiving outpatients treatment, the prescriptions were signed and sealed by a doctor, and a head of polyclinic department.

The selling of the medicines through pharmacies was also controlled.

Pharmacy Chain

In 1980s, the pharmacy chain of the Republic was a branched network of institutions, where highly educated and qualified specialists worked. Each year new pharmacies were launched; however, the pharmacy chain growth rate was slightly reduced.

Thus, in 1960-1967, the number of pharmacies increased by 45%. In 1968, in the territory of Ukraine, 4635 pharmacies operated, and in 1980 — 5.8 thousands of pharmacies. In 1981, 47 pharmacies were launched, and in 1982 — only 18. Therefore, one pharmacy served the needs of about 8.5 thousands of customers.

In early 1980s, the pharmacy chain employed 70.5 thousands of persons, and half of them were the specialists with complete pharmaceutical education (14.5 thousands of chemists and 19.5 thousands of pharmacists).

In 1988, the Republican Pharmacy Administration and all its regional divisions were wound-up. The same year, the Minister of Health of the Ukrainian SSR approved the Exemplary Articles of Association of the Regional Association Farmatsia, and the issue was to be solved by executive committees of regional counsel of people’s deputies.

Development of centralized trends in the Soviet Union before its break-up caused the production association Farmatsia to split off the all-union pharmacy chain.

With the view of improving the administrative medicines provision system during the market transition period period of transition to market relations in 1991, there was established Republican Scientific and Research Association Ukrfarmatsia based on Farmatsia production association, Boryspil, Artemivsk, Lviv and Kharkiv republican pharmacy chains, Artemivsk and Ternopil pharmaceutical factories and pharmacies of republican subordination.

Transition Period Crisis

Pharmaceutical industry directly depends on political, social and economic processes in the country.

Dramatic political, economic and social changes in the country in early 1990s caused major reduction of medicines provision of the Ukrainian population and were an actual catalyst of the crisis in pharmaceutical industry.

First and foremost, it occurred due to breakup of economic relations between the enterprises in Ukraine and outside Ukraine.

Supply of finished medicinal products and raw materials for domestic chemical and pharmaceutical industry experienced major changes.

In those circumstances, there emerged a burning need for medicines and raw materials production increase.


Challenges of modern times

New name, new standards, new leader

The new vector

Early 1990-s was a time of great changes for the Kyiv Chemical and Pharmaceutical Plant named after M.V. Lomonosov. Officially, they launched the long term upgrade, which actually was a rebirth.

Since the Company focused on production of chemical substances, modernization was not enough: they had to build major production facilities for finished dosage forms from scratch (currently, there are about 20 manufacturing sites).

In 1991, the oldest domestic chemical and pharmaceutical plant of Ukraine became a joint-stock company (by the way, the first one in the domestic pharmaceutical industry). It entered the new life under a new name — Farmak JSC.

Strong leader

In 1995, Farmak JSC had a significant event, which played a decisive role in changing the Company’s paradigm — Filya Zhebrovska was elected its CEO and Chairman of the Board.

Her life had been associated with Farmak for more than 10 years. Almost 70% of shareholders voted for her (at that time, there were more than 2,000 shareholders).

Then, production was switched to finished products meeting the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards.

It is clear that production of modern medicines cannot be supported by the outdated equipment. Thus, the Plant began upgrading: Farmak acquired and put into operation the first Bottlpack line for drops manufacturing. Naftyzyn® was the first drug produced at the new line.

Independence of Ukraine

Development of the independent Ukraine was a challenging period for all sectors of the economy.

Destruction of economic relations also affected the pharmaceutical sector — that time was marked with termination of supply chains at various stages (from production of medicines to the retailing in pharmacies), loss of markets, and lack of new orders.

Drug production in Ukraine almost stopped. Drugs imported did not satisfy the demand, because of the extremely low purchasing power, drugs remained an unaffordable luxury for the majority of people. Also, import of medicines was impeded because of the sophisticated pharmaceutical distribution system in early 1990-s.

New opportunities

All pharmaceutical enterprises of Ukraine were united in the Ukrmedbioprom Scientific and Production Association, which, in fact, operated as the Medical Industry Ministry (later renamed into the Group), headed by V.K. Pechayevv. He initiated and led the economic reform of chemical and pharmaceutical companies, which made it possible to achieve high growth rates of chemical and pharmaceutical industries in Ukraine. At that time, thanks to Ukrmedbioprom’a efforts there was developed the Finished Medicinal Products Production Program and jointly with the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine there was developed the Substances Resynthesis Program. In 1991-1992, upon the Ukrmedbioprom initiative, 61 of 68 pharmaceutical companies were rented to labor collectives with subsequent redemption.

In early 1990-s, all pharmacies were state-owned and controlled by the Main Pharmacy Department of Ukraine (GAPU) and regional production associations „Pharmacy“. The pharmacy system was funded by the state subsidies. The crisis in the medicines supply, high prices for imported drugs, complicated payments decreased the turnover and profit of pharmacies.

Importers engaged in foreign trade activities and logistics came into the market; foreign companies opened their offices.

New production facilities

Very soon, Farmak transformed from the virtually bankrupt company to a promising player in the pharmaceutical market.

They managed to launch production of lacking drugs for ophthalmology, antibiotics, and ointments. The line for production of drugs in plastic vials, production site for the pastes and ointments (1997), production site for dragees, tablets and capsules, and L-thyroxine tablets, the vials labeling and packaging line (1998) were put into operation.

The Company’s best card is its fruitful cooperation with the scientific elite. In particular, scientists from the Institute of Engineering Thermophysics of NAS Ukraine were involved in installation of the new equipment for production of ointments, gels and pastes.

In 1996, the production increased by 157.7% compared with the previous year, and the production portfolio of Farmak increased threefold in 1995-1999.

Birth of bestsellers

Acting together, researches of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of NAS Ukraine and the Institute of Organic Chemistry of NAS Ukraine developed Amizon®, a well-known drug having pronounced antiviral, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Industrial production of this drug was performed by Farmak JSC. Due to efforts of Farmak employees, it was successfully developed from the vial studies to the real clinical practice.

Farmak established production of L-thyroxine; scientific research of the substance and finished dosage form was performed by the team of the state-owned Institute of Endocrinology and Metabolism named after V.P. Komisarenko NAMS Ukraine (M.D. Tronko, V.V. Karpachev et al.), technical projects, i.e. Construction of the tablet production in compliance with GMP requirements, were implemented by the Austrian company FALCON. In 1998, the line was put into operation by Farmak specialists, headed by V.T. Zhyleyev.

New format

In 1995, the vertical management of the pharmaceutical segment, which comprised the Ukrmedbioprom Scientific and Production Association and regional production associations „Pharmacy“, ceased to exist. There was no other option, alternative to the obsolete system, some sort of a new unified structure for medicines supply management. Supply and sale of drugs was not regulated or controlled by the state. Drug supply deteriorated.

Thanks to efforts of specialists, mainly Yu.P. Spizhenko, who headed the State Committee for Medical and Bioindustry in 1995, they managed to satisfy the acute demand for drugs and reduce dependence on imports: in 1996, 107 new drugs were released, in 1997 — 70.

Since 1992, pharmaceutical and pharmacological studies have been conducted within the framework of many public research programs under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. By the late 1990-s, 500 (!) studies were performed in the field of pharmacy and pharmacology in Ukraine, that allowed development of more than 400 domestic drugs. But, unfortunately, only 10% of the planned products have been brought to the market.

Trust of the western partners

In 1996, 2.6 million ECU was allocated to Belarus and Ukraine within the TACIS program (European Union’s project to promote economic reforms in the CIS states, established in 1991) for development of L-thyroxine in tablets.

The significant event of that time was drafting of the Law of Ukraine No 123 On Medicines and its adoption by the Verkhovna Rada on April 4, 1996. The document regulated legal relations in the sphere of drugs circulation at all stages (development, registration, quality control, sales, etc.).



Cooperation with Elli Lilly

New quality standards

Despite the economic crisis of 1998, the Company managed to support key activities that ensured achievement of „pre-crisis“ indicators in the second half of 1999. Every year, Farmak produced 450 million tablets and dragee, 165 million packages of vials, 20 million ampoules, and more than 100 tons of substances. Over 10 years, they commissioned 17,000 m2 of new production facilities and 6,000 m2 of administrative and service facilities; actually, one more pharmaceutical plant has been established.

While providing Ukraine assistance in improving the training of the quality management specialists, the Federal Government of Germany allocated funds for creation and development of the quality management infrastructure (the training infrastructure for competitive management of SMEs — UNICUM) at the Ukrainian enterprises under the advisory program „Transform“.

The UNICUM project provided for training and implementation of the uniform requirements to quality managers in Ukraine, in line with the European standards of staff certification and registration; also, the Project provided for supporting of four companies in development, implementation and preparation of quality management systems for certification, based on ISO 9000 international standards, version of 2000 year. The quality management system of JSC Farmak has been developed, implemented and tested within the UNICUM project.

’Upon completion of the UNICUM program, organizers invited our delegation to the known German pharmaceutical companies’, recalls Filya Zhebrovska.

Large-scale development

Each year, starting from 2000, they put into operation one new production line. In 2001, they launched an ambitious project — the construction of finished medicinal products workshop (FMP-1). For Ukrainian pharmaceutical industry it was the first time when foreign partners were involved in designing (Farmak cooperated with the German company Farmaplant). Due to this, 4 production lines of FMP-1 proved to comply with European standards.

Industrial documents

In 1999, the National Agency for Control of Quality and Safety of Food, Drugs and Medical Devices, the regulator of the pharmaceutical industry, started its work.

The key event in 1999 was the V Congress of Pharmacists, the first one since Ukraine’s independence and for over 14 years, which took place in Kharkiv.

More than 2,500 delegates — experts from all regions of Ukraine and their foreign counterparts (including employees of WHO, UNESCO, etc.), representatives of the Ukrainian Diaspora in the USA, Canada and Australia attended the event, which was hosted by the Ukrainian Academy of Pharmacy (now the National University of Pharmacy).

One of the main achievements of the Congress was approval of the Pharmacy-2005 Program, the road map of the industry development for the next 5 years.

On September 7, 1999, the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma signed the Decree No 1128/99 establishing the professional holiday — Pharmacist Day.

In order to comply with the EU standards concerning the quality and safety of medicines, they gradually transformed provisions of the legislation of Ukraine; actively introduced the systems of standardization and certification of medicines, and created the regulatory framework (a number of important documents was developed, i.e. the Guidelines „Drugs. Good Manufacturing Practice“, „Drugs. Good Manufacturing Practice of Active Pharmacological Ingredients“, „Drugs. Good Distribution Practice“ etc.); approved the State Pharmacopoeia of Ukraine in full compliance with the European Pharmacopoeia.

Positive dynamics

The middle 2000-s can be described as the stage of sustainable development of the pharmaceutical industry: the purchasing power of the Ukrainians, the market share, and the number of pharmacies increased. The number of sale points exceeded 22,000: there were 9,000 pharmacies, 6,900 pharmacy booths, 5,500 pharmacy branches and a lot of pharmaceutical warehouses.

Unfortunately, the state authorities ignored the Ukrainian manufacturers, as no real measures to stimulate the domestic pharmaceutical industry, simplify the tax system, abolish deductions to the innovation fund (for the companies engaged in innovation segment) were adopted.


Penetration into foreign markets

Foreign missions launched

The first „invasion“ into EU

The idea to focus on the European market originated during one of Farmak’s visits to CPhI Worldwide in the mid-2000-s. The German company Kuragita looked for an enterprise located outside of the European Union, to develop the first generic of the original radiographic drug Magnevist® (gadopentetate dimeglumine). Farmak was selected among the large number of applicants: the Company won the contract due to availability of the modern material and technical base and the tremendous experience of radiographic substances production.

On November 7, 2007, the day after expiration of the patent protection for the original drug, trucks loaded with Magnegita® (produced by Farmak) crossed the EU border. Farmak was the first company that managed to synthesize the substance and develop a finished dosage form, prepare the registration dossier and register the first generic of the original gadopentetate for magnetic resonance imaging in 22 EU Member States following the decentralized procedure.

During 8 years of production and supply of the drug, the Pharmacovigilance System of the European Union received no claims of unpredictable complications; and none batch of the drug was rejected.

Towards integration

The economic crisis of 2008-2009 affected the pharmaceutical industry: without the state reimbursement of drug costs, volumes of purchases of medicines decreased by 12.6% in 2009 as compared to 2008, which marked an unprecedented recession among the CIS states. Only in the first half of 2010, consumption of drugs in packages increased, the market demonstrated some signs of recovery.

In 2010, the pharmaceutical sector of Ukraine employed 350,000 people. There were 12,800 pharmacies, more than 5,000 pharmacy booths, 4,000 pharmacy branches and more than 600 pharmaceutical warehouses. The clinical portfolio included 13,000 drugs.

In 2010, the audit team PIC/S audited the State Inspectorate for Quality Control of Drugs of the Ministry of Health in terms of compliance with PIC/S requirements, and at the regular meeting of the Committee, which took place in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) on November 8, 2010, they approved admission of the State Inspectorate for Quality Control of Drugs (now — the State Service of Ukraine on Drugs) of Ministry of Health of Ukraine to the PIC/S (Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme).


85 years

Starting production of liquid medicines

In 2010, Farmak was ranked first among domestic manufacturers, rising by 8 positions over 4 years, and currently holding the leadership.

Onwards and upwards

Overall in 2000-s, Farmak resembled a giant building site: over a short period, they launched the second line for Bottlpack production (2010), production facilities for liquid drugs (2007-2010), production facilities for dragee (2011) and production facilities for soft gelatin capsules. The full upgrading of technological platforms was completed in 2013.

In October 2014, during the Third Antiviral Congress conducted in Amsterdam (Netherlands), they presented the new promising research of Amizon® before the international audience. The international team of researchers of Illinois Institute of Technology (David Boltz, Xinjian Pehg, Miguel Muzzio, Rajendra Mehta), the St. Judas Children’s Research Hospital (Pradyot Dash, Paul Thomas) and Farmak (Viktor Margitych) studied the antiviral activity of enisanium iodide on influenza viruses in vitro in the differentiated normal cells of human bronchial epithelium. The data suggest that Amizon® affects the influenza viruses A and B and respiratory syncytial virus in vitro. Preliminary results show its high activity against adeno- and coronaviruses.

New challenges — new prospects

In 2014, the Ukrainians bought the minimum number of drug packages for all the years of Ukraine’s independence. Although they recorded some growth in money terms (+ 14.5%), the market rolled back for least 5 years in USD value. Reduced purchasing power of our people directed the demand towards more affordable drug groups. Also, consumption patterns shifted to prescription drugs.

Sales of drugs in packages decreased by 10.3% in 2015, while sales of domestic medicines increased by 35.2%.

In 2015, there were about 20,000 pharmacies in Ukraine (more than half of sales point were united into networks, a third of pharmacies were held by private entrepreneurs).

The project of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development aims at approximation of the Ukrainian legislation on drug registration with the European standards. 300,000 Euro of the financial aid was allocated to implement the Project. The Polish experts will consult the State Enterprise „State Expert Center MoH Ukraine“ on the regulatory policy, and Lithuanian specialists will advise on IT-technologies. The Project completion is scheduled for 2017.


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These were the brightest events in our history.
Now when buying any Farmak product, you'll know an approach to its development and production.
So to be continued…

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