LAUGFS Pharmaceutical (Pvt) Ltdtoday inaugurated construction of Sri Lanka’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturing facility,with a massive investment in excess of USD30 million, holding its ceremonious ground-breakingat the Koggala Export Processing Zone.
LAUGFS Holdings Ltd and Premium International Pvt Ltd have formed a joint partnership to build and operate an Oral Solid Dosage (OSD) pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, which is expected to be the first internationally certified plant in Sri Lanka to export products to the world.
The local pharmaceutical industry has been on a high growth momentum, with annual forecasted rates of 12 – 17% in both the public and private health sectors. However, Sri Lanka still largely depends on imported products for over 90% of the country’s requirement, with only around 10% manufactured locally. The foreign currency outflow as a result of this exceeds Sri Lankan Rupees 60-75 billion every year.
The LAUGFS manufacturing facility at Koggala is expected to transform the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector in the country on numerous fronts. Boosting the healthcare sector through technology transfer and capacity building, this will also deliver numerous benefits to the country’s economy as well as the local consumer.
“Being a home grown Sri Lankan conglomerate, we are proud to diversify further into the healthcare sector. With this new venture, we will be able to provide high quality, affordable pharmaceutical products for the local market, saving billions of foreign currency outflow. Compared to our neighbouring countries, Sri Lanka’s dependency on pharmaceutical imports is extremely high with only 10% of the requirement manufactured locally.Bangladesh, for example, where the domestic pharmaceutical market is thrice the value of our own, meets 97% of the domestic requirement through local manufacturing. Pakistan caters to around 70% of domestic demand of finished medicine through their local production,” stated Mr.W.K.H. Wegapitiya, the Chairman of LAUGFS.
With rising demand for healthcare and medications worldwide, global spending on medicines is expected to reach $1.17 trillion by 2017, according to a recent report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Most multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers adopt a regional production strategy using certified Contract Manufacturers, which has opened up a massive export market for regional players.
Regional sales of pharmaceuticals in Asia have more than doubled from $97 billion in 2001 to $214.2 billion in 2010, with sales expected to reach $386 billion by 2016. The opportunities available have been well exploited by India, Bangladesh and Pakistan,having built a multi-billion dollar industry today and becoming net exporters of pharmaceutical products. In Bangladesh, for example,pharmaceutical export revenue exceeds Tk.4.0 billion, with the industry being ranked as the country’s second largest potential sector in terms of foreign currency.
“We see tremendous prospects in the export market, where there are lucrative opportunities for contract manufacturing. With our favourable patent protection regulations compared to some of our neighbouring countries, Sri Lanka is a more attractive destination to MNCs for contract manufacturing,” Mr.Wegaitiya further elaborated. “We already have plans to export to the UK, European Union as well as the African continent, and strongly believe this will become asignificant contributor to our country’s export revenue.”
“This venture will secure multiple benefits to our country and our people. We’ll be able to make high quality pharmaceuticals freely available and accessible to Sri Lankans, creating affordable healthcare to all. The local manufacturing of critical medication at the facility will also enable its timely availability at hospitals, preventing shortages commonly encountered with imported medication,” commented Mr.Thilak De Silva, Group Managing Director of LAUGFS. “Further, these investments will significantly contribute towards creating new employment opportunities through our value chain, and will provide skill and knowledge enhancement for our local professionals through hands-on training and exposure to international industry standards. As a conglomerate with deep Sri Lankan roots, we will always make it a priority to ensure that we share our success with our country by making a positive social and economic contribution,” he further remarked.
“Once commissioned, this state-of-the-art pharmaceutical complex will be the largest and most advanced such facility in Sri Lanka. We will have the capacity to manufacture complex formulations and molecules, which have never been produced in the country before,” stated Mr.PrasanthaKularatna, Managing Director and CEO of Premium International, which is a joint shareholder and the lead technical consultant of the project. “Designed and engineered by a consortium of global consultants and technical experts, the facility is expected to meet and comply with strict international industry standards including the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the EU’s Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and World Health Organisation. All components and systems will be designed and commissioned according to superior international standards, including GEP, GAMP and ASME.”
The facility, which is expected to complete constructions in 16 months, will manufacture various types of tablets, capsules and dry powder suspensions both of the beta lactam(penicillin based) and non-beta lactam varieties. In addition, the non-beta lactam plant will also manufacture ointments, soft gels and suppositories. Along with generic products belonging to these two varieties, the facility will also produce many ‘high tech’ and ‘cutting-edge’ medications never before manufactured in Sri Lanka.
LAUGFS Pharmaceuticals is a subsidiary of LAUGFS Holdings, one of the largest diversified business conglomerates and a trusted name in Sri Lanka. Founded in 1995, LAUGFS has expanded across 20 industries, both local and overseas, establishing a strong presence as a leader and pioneer in the power and energy, retail, industrial, services, leisure, logistics and real estate sectors. With over 4,000 employees and an annual turnover exceeding Rs. 28 billion, LAUGFS continues to expand and empower millions as a trusted Sri Lankan brand.
Premium International Pvt Ltd, is Sri Lanka’s only integrated healthcare developer. Incorporated in 2003, Premium offers diversity and depth in healthcare solutions, which include Consultancy, Project Management, Contract Administration, Healthcare Technology Supplies as well as Comprehensive Technical Services.