Domestic pharmaceutical companies can substitute a huge chunk of medicine imports, provided the government brings a policy that is pharmaceutical industry-friendly and helps them run at full capacity.
"Domestic pharmaceutical companies have been operating at half their capacity," said managing director of Deurali-Janta Pharmaceuticals and vice president of Confederation of Nepalese Industries Hari Bhakta Sharma, here, today.
With regular power supply and policy back-up, the domestic pharma industry can substitute about 80 per cent of the total market demand, he said, adding that Deurali-Janta has been operating at 10 per cent to 62 per cent of its capacity. If we could operate at full capacity, we could supply around 20 per cent of the domestic demand.
"The domestic market has estimated annual sales of medicines of around Rs 16.70 billion, of which domestic pharma companies have been contributing only around Rs 6.85 billion," Sharma added.
According to the central bank's figures, the country has imported medicines worth Rs 10.87 billion from India and Rs 2.22 billion worth medicines from third countries, making it a total of Rs 13.09 billion worth of imports by mid-May.
Likewise, the country has also exported Rs 485.2 million worth medicines (Ayurvedic) to India in the 10 months, against Rs 659.3 million in the same period of last fiscal year.
Domestic pharmaceutical companies are capable of exporting medicines as they have been producing global standard drugs, but lack of government attention has not only hurt the industry but also employment creation, said Sharma, adding that a single company like Deurali-Janta Pharmaceuticals has created employment for around 350 highly educated and technical manpower.
The country has some two dozen pharmaceutical companies in operation, said the managing director of Deurali-Janta Pharmaceuticals that today launched a primary care division 'Nirog' that has brought a range of anti-inflammatory, analgesic and musculoskeletal products in the market.