Saturday Jan 28, 2023
Saturday Jan 28, 2023

Pharmaceutical industry unable to flourish

2022 Apr 18, 10:05, Chitwan
Representative Image Photo: NepalNews

The Nepali Pharmaceutical Industry has been able to meet more than 50 percent of demand in the history of the last 40 years. However, entrepreneurs have complained that due to a lack of policy, the industry has not flourished further. They have complained that the implementation of some policies has caused problems.

G. Narayan Bahadur Chhetri, the outgoing President of the Association of Pharmaceutical Producers of Nepal (APPON), said that there was a lack of policy to promote the national industry. He said, "There is a lack of policy to promote the industry. Despite some policies, it has not been implemented." According to him, out of the one trillion rupees worth of medicines traded every year, only 50 percent is manufactured in Nepal.

Chhetri believes that promoting the pharmaceutical industry will increase foreign exchange reserves and economic activity in the country. He said, "Import of medicines produced in Nepal from abroad should be stopped." According to Chhetri, even though 20 percent of the medicinal products including vaccines required by Nepal cannot be produced immediately, more than 80 percent of the medicines can be produced here. He said, "Due to the transfer of technology, all medicines except some, including vaccines can be produced in Nepal."

Stating that Rs. 70 billion has been invested in the Nepali Pharmaceutical Industry, he informed that 50 percent of it is banking investment. Informing that at least Rs. 500 million is needed to run the same company at present, he said "Entrepreneurs are ready to invest if the government facilitates policy." At present, 85 industries are producing medicines in Nepal and some industries are preparing to operate.

The Vice President of the Association, Santosh Baral, said that 25 years ago, Bangladesh was where we are today. "At present, 99 percent of medicines in Bangladesh are domestically produced", he stressed. Giving an example that Bangladesh has achieved great success in the pharmaceutical industry by banning the import of domestically produced medicines, Baral stressed the need to implement the same policy in Nepal as well. Stating that many types of medicines are produced in Nepal, Baral said, "Even now, import of 200 types of medicines should be stopped in Nepal. Production is possible by us", he added.

Ishwor Bhandari, Director of Kasturi Pharmaceuticals, says that the Nepali pharmaceutical industry is facing various problems. According to him, policy problems along with high-interest rates, delays in the Department of Drug Management, problems in importing raw materials, and lack of manpower are some problems in the industry. Stating that the state has not been able to look after the Nepali industry, Bhandari said that it would be possible to become almost self-reliant if policy reforms were made.

Bharat Bhattarai, Director General of the Department of Drug Management, said that research has been done for many years to solve the problems of the Nepali pharmaceutical industry. He said that he would move ahead by giving priority to solving the problems of the industry. He further said, "We are positive we will find the solution to the problem. If everyone cooperates, we can solve it." He says that the policy program of the pharmaceutical industry has not been made for 10 years.


Nepali Pharmaceutical Industry policy APPON Medicines pharmaceutical industry foreign exchange vaccines Entrepreneurs Department of Drug Management
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