Government Asked To Control Imports Of Inferior Medicines

  • 01-February-2014
  • Government Asked To Control Imports Of Inferior Medicines

Pharma entrepreneurs and experts have expressed concern over the flow of substandard drugs into the country and urged the government to impose stricter surveillance. They have called for a regulatory framework to supervise the import of medicinal products in an effective manner.

“The government should control the rampant import of inferior medicinal products,” said Bhupendra Thapa, former director general of the Department of Drug Administration (DDA) that oversees the pharmaceutical industry. Speaking at a programme organised to mark the 23rd anniversary of Deurali-Janta Pharmaceu-ticals, Thapa said the government should focus on tracking the import of foreign products by developing an effective mechanism. There are 47 pharmaceutical companies operating in the country. They hold 45 percent of the domestic pharmaceutical market which is worth Rs 17-18 billion annually. These companies claim to be manufacturing quality products that are priced less than import s.

According to Thapa, the government can bring foreign products under the regulatory framework by imposing a small VAT on them. “Since there is no customs duty or VAT on medicine s, this has encouraged a massive inflow of low quality products.”

Deurali-Janta Chief Executive Officer Hari Bhakta Sharma criticized the government for not carrying out a complete assessment of foreign companies when they bring their products into the domestic market. “The government should conduct a relative test of import ed medicine s too as it does of domestic products,” he added.

Established with an investment of over Rs 900 million, Deurali-Janta manufactures 210 types of general medicine s. They include medicine s for heart problems, nerves, diabetes and skin diseases. The company aims to manufacture innovative products developed by its research and development unit. However, it has been operating at 55 percent of its capacity.

Deurali-Janta said it was focused on producing essential drugs used for the treatment of problems related to psychology. CEO Sharma asked the government to support the private sector in developing innovative products to promote exports.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Shankar Prasad Koirala said that the proposed Industrial Enterprise Act could address many issues related to regulating businesses including pharma.

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