Being pharma sufficient to stop dollar outflow

Navesta Pharmaceuticals unveiled the first ever EU-GMP compliant Intravenous Medication (IV) manufacturing facility in Sri Lanka and went on to set up the second factory manufacturing capsules, tablets, and syrups.

With a vision to build an owner brand and a dream to make Sri Lanka self-sufficient in pharma, Sanjaya Jayaratne, the Chairman / CEO Navesta Pharmaceuticals embarked on establishing the first plant in 2017 for dry powder Injectables.

Their state-of-the-art plant caters to Sri Lanka’s total IV requirement in its production category, having started exports to the African region. The need in the market for capsules, syrups, and tablets in the antibiotic category made Navesta Pharmaceuticals set up the second plant.

Mr. Jayaratne said, “We are predominantly making one category of antibiotics. We saw a big need in Sri Lanka for certain type of surgery and for other infections. Antibiotics in the form of capsules, syrups and tablets were also needed, which made us set up the second plant,”

While neighbouring India and other South Asian countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan are self-sufficient in pharma, Sri Lanka is yet to be, as currently it imports about 80 per cent of supplies. Mr. Jayaratne said highlighting the importance of being self-sufficient in pharmaceutical supplies to stop the dollar outflow, said it can only be done through import substitution. India is a prime example in this regard “India has banned certain drug imports depending on whether those needs in the country can be met. There are certain medicines that we should start import bans on because the entire national demand for these products can be met by local manufacturing firms.”

Mr. Jayaratne said The journey to becoming self-sufficient in drugs has been started by extending the buyback agreement for local producers for the government sector. “The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association has informed the authorities about self-sufficiency in pharmaceuticals for Sri Lanka and they have taken it very positively.”

He added that the National Medicinal Regulatory Authority is giving massive support to the industry by giving priority product registration and auditing manufacturing plants.

Noting that staying competitive in the industry is a challenge, Mr. Jayaratne said his company revolves around innovation. “We have 300 staff and about 60 per cent of them are from local universities. I have met some of the smartest individuals from the local education system. And they are the ones who are in the forefront of our innovation journey.”

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