Boosting Sri Lanka's pharmaceutical manufacturing sector the international pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline's firm in Sri Lanka Glaxo Wellcome Ceylon will launch the country's first ever solid pharma production facility in Moratuwa on April 24.
The state-of-the-art facility will produce a huge volume of 2.5 billion Panadol tablets, a brand of paracetamol annually.
Industry & Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiyutheen has said that the new manufacturing unit will help stabilize domestic prices.
The Minister has noted that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, realizing the high dependency of local market on imported products and the need for setting up domestic production, had proposed in September 2011 that steps are necessary to be taken towards pharma imports substitution.
"This new source of supply will boost our pharma manufacturing sector and will also help stabilise domestic prices," the Minister has said.
"I believe that the new plant in Moratuwa will help us moving towards Strategic Import Replacement in our pharma market," he has added.
Sri Lanka's competitive domestic pharma market is estimated to grow 11% annually.
Only six local pharmaceutical manufacturers are currently active in Sri Lanka and the shortfall is met by imported products from more than 300 international manufacturers competing in the domestic market. The government spends around US$ 140 million annually for medicines alone.
According to the Health Ministry, the country consumes US$ 350 million worth of pharmaceutical products annually and the government is the biggest consumer representing well over 35% of the domestic consumption of around US$ 130 million.
Sri Lanka Ministry of Industry and Commerce has begun preliminary work to set up the first ever pharmaceutical manufacturing zone near the provincial capital of Kurunegala in the North Western Province.