It should be noted that the legislative proposal with the postponement of coding dates was sent to the State Duma in the summer of 2018, but was not supported by the government expert commission and was rejected by the relevant Committee of the State Duma.
The business community, including experts from ART Delivery, as well as public organizations and associations are concerned about the lack of elaboration of the labeling processes. This has also been stated in the bill. There is a risk that, instead of a positive effect and cleansing of the Russian market from counterfeiting, the idea of consumer protection with the help of digital technologies may turn into negative consequences for both consumers and businesses. Moreover, the state already has experience of hasty introduction of new technologies - as during the formation of a system for controlling the production and circulation of alcohol (EGAIS). It took several years to establish the business processes in the industry.
The initiators of the bill, including the Deputy speaker of the State Duma, Olga Epifanova, and the first Deputy Chairman of the State Construction and Legislation Committee, Mikhail Emelyanov, have proposed to postpone the coding until January 1, 2022. Within this period, it is necessary to develop transparent rules and create conditions for the introduction of mandatory labeling. The Managing Director of GK ART Delivery, Ramil Suleymanov, notes that the delay will have a positive effect on the performance of all market players. During this period, it would be possible to assess the feasibility, complexity and time requirements of the operations, the cost of equipment, and optimization of business processes for labeling different product groups. In particular, to provide the opportunity for consolidated cargo importers to label only wholesale orders and pass on the codes to retailers, while retail stores to put the codes on goods, as normally, at the point of sales.
It should be noted that the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) warned Vyacheslav Volodin, the head of the State Duma and Dmitry Medvedev, the head of the Government of the Russian Federation, about the unpreparedness of the industry to introduce drug labeling, the risks of rising prices and technical difficulties. However, the provider of the system «Chestniy Znak» has promised to fix the problems by January 1, 2020.
According to the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), more than 28 million packages of 5370 drugs were labeled before September 1, 2019. After the implementation of the labeling is completed, it is expected to track 6.5 billion packages of drugs from more than one thousand manufacturers.
Huge labeling volumes are predicted not only in the pharmaceutical industry. Taking into account the national scale of the digital labeling project, the possible risks, costs and consequences of errors for the economy, business representatives and legislators have called for a balanced approach and search for optimal solutions.