Pharma zone will stabilise price volatility: Bathiudeen

Saturday, 10 December 2011 00:34 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The proposed first ever pharmaceutical manufacturing zone in Kurunegala by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, once operational, could considerably stabilise domestic price volatilities and bring relief to the Sri Lankan consumer, said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka.

“Once it is operational, there will be a domestic source of supply that will strengthen the local market further and thereby also helping the consumer,” Minister Bathiudeen added.

Minister was addressing the officials of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in Colombo.

“Our competitive domestic pharma market is growing on average 11% annually. Realising the high dependency of local market on imported products and the need for setting up domestic production, President Mahinda Rajapaksa in September 2011 proposed that steps are necessary to be taken towards pharma imports substitution.

I also commend the 2012 budget proposals to develop manufacturing of pharmaceuticals in Sri Lanka as a Strategic Import Replacement Enterprise by granting tax holidays for investment in the pharmaceuticals production,” Minister Bathiudeen said.

Sri Lanka Pharm-aceutical Manufact-urers Association Pre-sident Vish Govindasami praised the first ever pharma zone initiative.

“This zone is the right thing to do. It will create healthy competition at the supply side. Since the final beneficiary is our consumer, it’s a positive development,” Govindasami said.  

Only six local pharmaceutical manufacturers are already active in Sri Lanka and the shortfall is met by imported products from more than 300 international manufacturers which are currently competing in the domestic market.

The government spends around US $ 140 million annually for medicines alone.

Private sector based research showed that among the promising growth segments within the Sri Lankan pharma market are chronic care, cardiovascular, and anti-diabetics segments. Generics The market share of generic drugs has steadily increased over the last few years, and now represents almost two-thirds of the market.

According to the Business Monitor International which analyses country risks across 175 countries, the projected expenditure for Lankan pharmaceuticals for 2011 is expected to increase by 15 per cent to US $444 million in comparison to $ 386 million in 2010. Healthcare costs were $ 2 billion in 2010 and $ 2.31 billion in 2011.

Medical devices costs were $ 90 million in 2010 and projected to be $ 101 million in 2011. Such a high dollar quantum and rates of increase in annual pharma expenditure expense shows clear promise for potential investors in the first ever pharmaceutical zone in Sri Lanka.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce have already begun preliminary work on developing the country’s first pharmaceutical manufacturing zone.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has begun mapping out the first steps in developing the 48 acre (19.4 hectare) land plot for this purpose.

It is less than five kilometres from Kurunegala town, and is to be located at ‘Rathgalle’ Grama Niladhari Division in Kurunegala DS Division, subject to approval of the Chief Minister of the North Western Province.