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Sri Lanka drug manufacturers welcome pharma state ministry

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s pharmaceuticals manufacturers have welcomed the appointment of a minister for the sector, saying they now account for 5 percent of the domestic market.

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a university lecturer Channa Jayasumana, an activist who backed his party as minister of the newly set up State Ministry for pharmaceuticals.

The Sri Lanka Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (SLPMA) welcomed the move.

Further commenting on the new government, Jayaratne said, “As the representative body of local manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical products, we warmly welcome the establishment of a State Ministry for Pharmaceuticals by the newly elected government.

“This highlights the importance the state places on a self-sufficient local pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in the country and is an encouragement to the industry,” SLPMA President Sanjaya Jayaratne, who is also Chairman of Navesta Pharmaceuticals (Pvt.) Ltd said in a statement.

“The association will work towards strengthening ties with the government and expanding on our contribution to the national healthcare sector by expanding on the guaranteed buy back agreement for local pharmaceuticals currently in effect.

“The SLPMA has always stood for quality affordable pharmaceuticals and will support the government secure the highest quality medicines for the most affordable prices.”

Sri Lanka has a tax payer funded health system where a large part of the budget is spent on drugs. The last administration gave guaranteed purchase contracts outside of competitive bids to domestic producers.

Due to soft-pegged monetary regime which frequently triggers forex shortages with money printing, Sri Lanka has built non-export competitive import substitution industries in various sectors which get tax protection and other benefits.

The SLPMA said its members had re-invested over 15 billion rupees in boosting capacity. (Colombo/Aug/2020)

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