- Requests govt. consult industry and collaborate
- Says price control gazette in 2016 cost industry Rs.1bn
- Says recent hike in regulatory fees across board not helping
The newly-elected President of the Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI), Shyam Sathasivam, Managing Director of Sunshine Healthcare Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd, urged the government to consult and collaborate with all key stakeholders to address the prevailing issues in the local pharmaceutical industry – particularly with regard to the formulation of a viable pricing mechanism for imported medicines.
Elaborating on his vision for the industry, Sathasivam called for greater relationship and rapport building between the SLCPI membership and Health Ministry and National Medical Regulatory Authority (NMRA) and engage with them on pricing and other matters. “Establishing a protocol and norms for stakeholder management is critical for our business,” said Sathasivam. “Defending our position with facts and white papers is definitely the way forward and must be done consistently,” he urged.
Further outlining his vision for his tenure as President, Sathasivam said that skill building and setting standards for the medical reps teams are also strong necessities.
“The image of our front-line team needs to step up. For this to happen, the industry must invest significantly in training and development.”
Sathasivam spoke of engaging the services of institutions such as Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) in upping the level of professionalism among front-line medical teams.
“At the end of the day, the stakeholders must realize the true value of the pharma industry and not portray us negatively,” he explained, showing statistics about the impact on private pharmaceutical market due to major foreign exchange losses and price reduction. “We kindly request the government to allow the industry to adjust pricing to the current exchange rate so that we could ensure a sustainable supply of quality medications while keeping in mind the end consumer.”
“The price control gazette in October 2016 enacted overnight caused severe disruptions and losses along the supply chain of more than Rs.1 billion to manufacturers and importers. This led to a significant increase in defaults of pharmaceutical retailers and closure or slowing down of SME (small and medium enterprise) pharma retailers and distributors.
We humbly request that such directives should be applied only after providing the industry with sufficient time to respond by depleting the current inventory and taking the necessary administrative measures,” Sathasivam stated.
“Over the last nine months, we have slowly begun to recover the losses but enormous increases on all regulatory fees across the board had further impacted the entire pharma value chain including small retailers.
These factors have the potential for negative socio-economic repercussions at a national level. Hence, we request that the government enter into consultation and collaboration with all key stakeholders in order to arrive at a fair and feasible pricing formula.”
Sharing his thoughts on an outline for mitigating the regulatory challenges, Sathasivam stated, “The implementation of the NMRA regulations and commitments has been a significant challenge over recent years. We look forward to working closely with the NMRA on resolving the import licence and re-registration issues, getting clarity on all requirements for new registrations so that the approval time is definite and short.”
Founded in 1961, the SLCPI represents over 70 members, who account for over 90 percent of the private pharmaceutical industry across the value chain from manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers, providing the Sri Lankan patients with a range of over 800 pharmaceutical molecules from 364 manufacturers from across the world.
The industry value chain has over 60,000 direct employees and over 240,000 indirect employees. The chamber’s membership comprises major corporates in the local industry and is an affiliate of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.