Medical device companies in Russia

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The ongoing war in Ukraine has caused companies to reassess their business in Russia. Over the past four weeks, restaurants and other retail businesses have halted business practices and pulled out of Russia altogether. Medical device and pharmaceutical companies have taken a similar approach where possible, but not to the same extent as other industries.

Stopping sales and deliveries of certain medical devices or pharmaceuticals may harm the health of Russian citizens. It’s understandable that medical companies want to take a stand against Russia the same way other companies do, but they need to find an ethical way to do so. Blocking individuals from accessing potentially life-saving medical supplies is not an option for most businesses.

So far, a common choice among medical companies has been to suspend activities they consider non-essential or non-urgent, and many have suspended or delayed the start of clinical trials in Russia. For example, AbbVie has halted its operations in Russia regarding medical aesthetics and is also delaying the start of clinical trials of new products in the country. Similarly, Pfizer, Bayer and Sanofi have announced that they will suspend any new investment or development in Russia.

Some companies did not halt production or sales in Russia, but instead donated money or supplies to Ukraine. Other companies have even chosen to both donate to Ukraine and cease operations in Russia. Mercury Medical, a Florida-based medical device company, ended all business activity in Russia in early March and made a large donation to the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA). UMANA has asked individuals and organizations for donations, financial or otherwise, to send to Ukraine. So far, Mercury Medical has donated thousands of dollars worth of medical devices to UMANA, such as hemostatic gauze, tourniquets and bandages.

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