Lanka’s drug import bill to drop by over 20% | Sunday Observer
Morison opens pharma manufacturing facility

Lanka’s drug import bill to drop by over 20%

4 October, 2020
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi and officials of Morison and Hemas Holdings at the facility.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi and officials of Morison and Hemas Holdings at the facility.

Sri Lanka’s staggering annual import bill on pharmaceutical drugs will be slashed by over 20 percent with the manufacture of medicinal drugs locally, said a senior official of Morison PLC at the launch of its modern manufacturing, research and development facility at Homagama on Friday.

Over Rs. 130 billion is spent each year on importation of medicinal drugs which is around 85 percent of the country’s needs.

The pioneering efforts by renowned pharmacologist Prof. Senaka Bibile in the 1970s and thereafter lobbies for a rational drug policy which ensure quality and affordable drugs for all have fallen on deaf ears.

The patient rights movements have been calling upon the health authorities to ensure the rights of patients to have access to quality and affordable medicine.

It is the right of the patient to request his or her family doctor to prescribe reasonable drugs at an affordable price.

The rational pharmaceutical policy of Prof. Bibile aimed at providing patients drugs at an affordable price was based on ensuring that doctors prescribe the minimum required number drugs for ailments.

The USD 18.5 million state-of-the-art facility of Morison PLC, the largest oral solid dosage pharmaceutical manufacturer and a subsidiary of Hemas Holdings PLC has a capacity to supply over 20% of Sri Lanka’s tablet needs. The plant located within the Sri Lanka Nano Technology Park in Pitipana was opened by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday.

The factory is ready to commence validation batches and is expected to start commercial production early next year, supporting the Government’s aim to manufacture essential medicines locally.

A pioneer in the local manufacture of pharmaceuticals, Morison’s new facility with an investment of USD 18.5 million reaches a major milestone in Sri Lanka, being the first European Union-Good Manufacturing Practice (EU-GMP) compliant oral solid dosage manufacturing plant in Sri Lanka.Managing Director, Morison PLC, Murtaza Esufally said, “The launch of the new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility marks a new era for Morison, continuing our 80-year long mission to offer the highest quality products at affordable prices. This investment is supported through the guaranteed buy-back agreements that will help us to build economies of scale and be more competitive in global markets. Continued government support will enable us to create a stronger footprint in exports and begin contract manufacture partnerships with global Pharma companies, helping Sri Lanka earn valuable foreign exchange as we look to the future.”

GMP compliance requires that medicines are of consistent high quality and are appropriate for their intended use. EU GMPis an essential requirement to be a credible pharmaceutical manufacturer and exporter to global, regulated markets.

Morison produces 75 formulations of medicine and intends to grow that portfolio in the coming years to address Sri Lanka’s growing medicinal needs, especially in the sphere of non-communicable diseases.

Its new plant has an annual production capacity of five billion tablets and 10 million bottles of medicine working at peak capacity on double shift, and aims to improve employment opportunities with the creation of 250 skilled jobs.

The new plant is designed for minimum human intervention to prevent human error and includes cutting edge equipment such as the fully automated liquid manufacturing and packing lines, fully-fledged chemical and microbiology labs, separate air handling units to control environment conditions and is also equipped with Enterprise Resource Planning software.

The plant also has the first zero liquid discharge wastewater water systems in the country.Morison PLC commenced operations in Sri Lanka in 1939 as J.L. Morison Son & Jones (Ceylon) PLC and was listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange in 1964. 

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