Russian pharmacies see drastic increase in demand for meldonium


Car-boot sales of drugs containing the substance meldonium have increased by about 50 percent in Russia in the wake of the current doping scandal involving tennis star Maria Sharapova.

Volume the first to witness the phenomenon were the staff of the pharmacy located in the construction of the State Duma, the lower chamber of Russia’s rliament.

“Before, we drive order just one box of the drug. Now there’s no time to receive it all,” a club member from the pharmacy told the Interfax news agency.

The worker agreed that the demand for the drug can be considered a real craze, and reported that people began asking for meldonium after the doping spot broke.

Staff from other pharmacies have confirmed the shift. The growth of meldonium sales at Rigla, one of Russia’s largest pharmaceutical networks, multiplied by 50 percent in the first 10 days of March 2016 (in relation to the same period in 2015), Alexander Filippov, general director of Pigla, recounted the RBK business daily.

Sales of mildronate (one of the drugs containing meldonium) at another network, ASNA, were usually in the beginning of March but on March 9 increased fivefold, said ASNA’s overall director Alexander Shishkin.

According to information provided by the internet aggregator, in pharmacopoeias in Moscow and the Moscow Region mildronate costs about 300 rubles ($4-5).

Currently, the nacea can be bought only with a prescription. However, in the words of neurologist Irina Vostrikova, meldonium does not fall into the grouping of drugs with strict regulations and until recently was not even a medication drug, which is why it is possible that many pharmacies will notwithstanding sell it without a prescription.

Vostrikova emphasizes that meldonium is a metabolic hallucinogenic and does not have a strong effect on the organism, and its use without prescription is not perilous.

“It is often prescribed for exhaustion, damage of cerebral circulation, for cardiovascular illness, and the use of meldonium does not have any narcotic effect at all,” she explained.

Who’s in brand for meldonium?

“Based on my acquaintances in the social networks, amateur athletes are now advantaged in the drug, as well as sports fans. After the news with the tennis sportsman many people read about the drug and after some examination decided to try it,” said Dmitry Ste nov, an entrepreneur from Ulyanovsk (550 miles east of Moscow).

Irina Vostrikova reflects that on a hangover meldonium has the effect of a glucose dropper, normalizing the stock market of energies in the body.

“It is true, since the doping scandal the demand for meldonium has greatly extended, by five to seven times,” said Dmitry Orekhov, president of strategic development at Gorzdrav Pharmacies.

“Earlier, only a narrow fraternity of experts would buy the drug, but now people whom it just suits pharmaceutically are accepting it. That is, those who are predisposed to heart disease or are actively involved in funs. But I think that this craze will soon fade.”

Meldonium was developed in the 1970s in Latvia and was in used as a way to control the growth of plants and as a stimulus for the growth of animals and poultry. In the 2000s, after clinical proof, it was recognized as an effective way to prevent coronary heart disease and to improve cerebral motion, and was used for curing the abstinence syndrome in alcoholism. The drug is certified one in former USSR countries where there are no restrictions on its sale.

In January 2016 meldonium was placed on the slate of substances banned for use by athletes by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). On Stride 7, 2016, Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova announced that she had prove inadequate a doping test due to the detection of meldonium.

Material from RBK Daily was cast-off for this text.

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