SPMC seeks loan to meet Sri Lanka’s medical needs

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sri lanka

The SPMC of Sri Lanka is seeking a $10m (€7.1m) loan to buy high-speed tablet and capsule filling machines and ensure it can meet the island’s demand for safe medicines.

Since its establishment in 1987 using grant aid from the Japanese government the State Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC) has produced essential medicines for Sri Lankans.

However, over the past 20 years demand has risen significantly. The facility was designed to produce 550m tablets and capsules a year. SPMC has increased this to 1035m a year by operating the site for 16 hours a day but this is still insufficient for current demand.

Furthermore, the Japanese and German equipment used at the site has been in use for 22 years. Old and obsolete, the equipment has become increasingly expensive to maintain, especially with it now being difficult and costly to source spare parts.

Consequently, SPMC is seeking to revamp its facility and is searching a financier or funding organisation that can loan it $10m. SPMC would pay back the loan within 10 years.

Using this funding SPMC plans to install high capacity machines over the next two years. This is intended to minimise disruption to supply and help it meet the estimated demand of more than 4000m tablets and capsules a year.

Currently SPMC supplies 20 of its 59 products to the Medical Supplies Division (MSD) of the Sri Lankan Health Ministry. The annual requirement for the MSD alone is 1862m tablets and capsules, which is considerably more than SPMC’s current capacity.

Furthermore, SPMC has developed several other products for the MSD but is unable to begin manufacturing them because of capacity constraints, restricting the flow of essential medicines to Sri Lanka’s poor.

SPMC states it adheres to good manufacturing practices (GMP) established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and follows the standards of the US and British Pharmacopoeias (USP and BP).

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