GSK invests in Sri Lankan manufacturing plant

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sri lanka

GSK has invested in a new manufacturing plant in Sri Lanka for the production of its over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller Panadol.

The INR200m ($4m) facility in south western city of Moratuwa will house both laboratory space and production lines and, when operational early next year, will manufacture almost 2bn tablets a year.

UK-based drug major GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which sells around 70m packs of Panadol in Sri Lanka every year, told the CeylonDaily News​ that the investment would roughly double production capacity.

Sachi Thomas, MD of GSK’s Sri Lankan consumer healthcare unit, said: “Last year the company moved into Panadol liquid manufacturing and it is a great success​,” adding that the aim with the new plant is to further secure supplies in the country.

This was reiterated by a GSK spokeswoman who told in-Pharmatechnologist.com that: “The new investment is to support the local manufacture of Panadol,” ​which is the best selling analgesic in the country.

She explained that: “Currently the bulk tablets are brought into the country and packed in our plant, and we believe [the investment in the new plant] will help deliver value in the country.”

The investment fits with the general trend that has seen GSK and its rivals AstraZeneca​ , Bayer​ , Abbott​ and Novartis​ boost manufacturing capacity in emerging markets as a means of sustaining revenues ahead of patent expiry in mature markets.

More specifically, the new Moratuwa plant is in keeping with GSK’s expansion in Sri Lanka in the last few years, beginning with its acquisition of skin care specialist Steifel Laboratories in 2009​ .

This acquisition provided GSK with a 23 per centre share of Sri Lanka’s skin care market according to analysis by Trading Markets.com

More recently, according to Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror newspaper, GSK acquired rights to sell a number of Bristol-Myers Squibb prescription drug products in the country.

Stuart Chapman, MD of GSK Pharmaceuticals in Sri Lanka told the paper that: “The partnership between GalxoSmithKline and Bristol Myers Squibb, two leading and innovative pharmaceuticals companies committed to excellence, will generate many new opportunities​."

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