Sri Lanka to increase local drug production with pharma hub

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sri lanka

Sri Lanka is setting up a 48 acre pharma manufacturing industrial zone to boost local production.

Creating a pharma manufacturing hub 5km from Kurunegala City in central Sri Lanka will help the government, which accounts for 35 per cent of demand, source more drugs from local suppliers.

The Sri Lankan Ministry of Industry and Commerce has distributed a leaflet promoting the hub to potential occupants. Priority is being given to companies making large investments and land will be leased under 50-year agreements.

More than 10 companies have shown an interest in setting up plants, the government said. To attract investment the government is offering “buy back guarantees”, Lanka Business Online reports​, and creating the infrastructure needed to support pharma manufacturers.

Development of the industrial zone and associated infrastructure will begin soon, the government said. Connecting the hub to wide roads, water, electricity, and telecommunications is a priority. Colombo University will support testing of product quality using its laboratories.

Making these investments will help the government cut reliance on imports. The government spends around LKR15bn ($135m) a year on pharmaceuticals. Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce, said Sri Lanka sources 10 per cent of its drugs locally, Lanka Business Online ​reports.

Earlier expansions

Over the past two years the Sri Lankan State Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC) has invested to boost output. In January 2010 SPMC sought a $10m loan​ to upgrade equipment and add capacity.

Using the funding SPMC planned to increase output to 4bn tablets and capsules a year. The SPMC site was designed to produce 550m tablets and capsules but by lengthening operating hours output was increased to more than 1bn.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has also invested in Sri Lanka​ to double production capacity at its Panadol (paracetamol) plant in Moratuwa. Output of 2bn tablets a year was targeted post-expansion.

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