Anglo-Swedish drugs giant AstraZeneca nearly doubled its exports from Sweden to Russia after the Kremlin launched its full-scale attack on Ukraine, according to a report.
Sveriges Radio (SR) – the country’s public service broadcaster – said that the FTSE 100 company had exported 2.2 billion Swedish krona (£174 million) worth of chemicals to Russia from Sweden between March and December last year.
It is an increase from 1.2 billion krona (£95 million) in the same period in 2021, SR reported, citing sources.
AstraZeneca is therefore responsible for around a third of Sweden’s total exports to Russia, SR claimed.
Pharmaceutical companies are often excluded from international sanctions to ensure that life-saving medicines are not withdrawn from people who rely on them to survive.
Astra still runs a factory in Kaluga in Russia, south-west of Moscow, which was worth around 224 million US dollars (£187 million) when first built.
When it opened in 2015, Astra said that the plant could produce around 850 million tablets across 30 different medicines every year.
The factory is now a key part of Astra’s global supply chain, supplying medicines to patients around the world.
It told SR: “Access to our medicines for all patients has always been and continues to be of the highest priority for us. It happens in accordance with the sanctions and rules that are in place.
“Many patients rely on our life-saving medicines.”
Astra did not explain why its exports from Sweden to Russia doubled during the last 10 months of 2022.
In December the company said that it had stopped commencing global clinical trials in Russia and it will not make any new investments in the country.
The firm said at the time: “We were shocked by the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and condemn the unprovoked attacks.
“Our priorities remain the safety and health of our colleagues, patients, refugees and all those impacted by this tragedy.
“In line with our purpose as a healthcare company, we are doing everything possible to ensure patients can continue to access our essential and life-saving medicines.”