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Nepal’s Finance Minister tells pharma industry to focus on exports

Nepal’s Finance Minister tells pharma industry to focus on exports

KATHMANDU: Finance Minister Ram Sha-ran Mahat said that the domestic pharmaceutical industry should now focus on exporting their products as the sector was heading towards self-reliance.

Medicinal products made in Nepal hold a 40 percent share of the domestic market which is worth estimated Rs 20 billion annually. There are currently 45 medicinal drug manufacturers operating in the country.

Speaking at the 24th anniversary celebration of Deurali-Janta Pharmaceut-icals, Mahat expressed readiness to support efforts to promote exports. “Pharmaceutical companies need to conduct a detailed study of the type of support they need from the government to promote their business in the international market,” Mahat said.

Nepali pharmaceutical companies claim that they are now in a position to fulfil the domestic demand for general medicines in particular. Deurali-Janta’s Chief Executive Officer Hari Bhakta Sharma said the government needed to discourage imports of 50 molecules in particular. “This will help promote more investment in the sector,” he added.

Sharma urged the government to set up a mechanism and install an internationally recognized lab to ensure the quality of domestic pharmaceutical products.

“Besides supporting pharmaceutical exports, the government needs to remove restrictions on investing abroad for long-term sustainability of the domestic pharma business,” he said.

Chief Drug Administrator at the Department of Drugs Administration Balkrishna Khakurel said the department had been helping companies to manufacture new molecules by using advanced technology.

Khakurel urged manufacturers to focus on correcting price anomalies in the pharmaceutical business. “Besides, pharma companies need to think about how they are going to deal with the possible risks of using their products,” he said.

Deurali-Janta said it was operating at 60 percent of capacity.

Established with a paid-up capital of Rs 492.3 million, the company produces 210 kinds of medicinal products used in the treatment of heart disease, nerve disorders, diabetes and skin disease. It employs 350 people.