Medicine against imports
By Alexander Pimenov
The issue was high on the agenda at a meeting between the Chairman of the State Committee for Science and Technology, Igor Voitov, and representatives of Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd (Switzerland) and PrimeCell a.s. (Czech Republic). Other areas of co-operation in medicine and pharmacy were discussed, including the potential launch of new drug production and of ingredients for domestic medicines. The possibility of opening a pilot centre or a laboratory in cell engineering also came under debate.
“We’re interested in creating a facility in Belarus to start producing original drugs. Currently, domestically-produced drugs account for 25 percent of the local market. However, in the next four years, we plan to increase this figure to 50 percent,” stresses Mr. Voitov. Development of new pharmaceutical facilities is part of Belarus’ State Innovation Development Programme for 2011-2015. “With this in mind, investors will be given maximum assistance,” emphasises the official.
The Director for Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Richard Krahulec, tells us that pharmaceutical companies from Switzerland are interested in the Belarusian market. “We’re now trying to find ways to establish mutually beneficial co-operation and start producing medicines. Belarus would reduce its volume of imports of pharmaceutical products, replacing with its own production. For our company, Belarus is a promising new market, taking into account the Customs Union,” he asserts.
New areas in healthcare, including cell-based therapies, were discussed. PrimeCell a.s. employee Igor Keblushek notes that Belarus and the Czech Republic have made great headway in bio-medicine development and are now focused on the manufacture of innovative products to improve the quality of life of patients. “We’re interested in bilateral co-operation and suggest developing a basis for advanced therapy,” he notes. His proposal consists of establishing production, with subsequent development and related infrastructure. This would include a network of centres for the production and use of modern therapy products and market promotion of the new technology.