The ongoing war in Ukraine has caused companies to re-evaluate their business in Russia. Over the last four weeks, restaurants and other various retail companies have halted business practices and completely withdrawn from Russia. Medical device and pharmaceutical companies have taken a similar approach where possible, though not to the same extent as other areas of business.

Halting sales and deliveries of certain medical devices or pharmaceuticals can be detrimental to the health of Russian citizens. It is understandable that medical companies want to take a stand against Russia in the same way that other companies have, but they must find an ethical way to do so. Preventing individuals from accessing potentially life-saving medical supplies is not an option for most companies.

So far, one common choice among medical companies has been to suspend business that they consider to be non-essential or non-urgent, and many have paused or delayed the start of clinical trials in Russia. For example, AbbVie has halted operations in Russia pertaining to medical aesthetics, and is also delaying the start of clinical trials for new products in the country. Similarly, Pfizer, Bayer and Sanofi have announced that they will hold off on new investments or developments in Russia.

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