Prices of drugs in Sri Lanka are the cheapest in the region and the main reason for this is the zero duty on them said the Chairman of Citihealth Imports (Pvt.) Ltd, Chandra Jayaratne.
Speaking at a ceremony organised to mark their eighth anniversary celebrations he said that most of the drugs are cheaper in Sri Lanka than India where most of them are manufactured.
The Indian Pharmaceutical companies have an understanding among them not to reduce their price margins. However, when it comes to exports there is competition, which results in cheaper prices.
Some of the drugs imported from India are at least 30 times cheaper than the same product manufactured in Sri Lanka, he said.
Another advantage Indian companies enjoy is the availability of raw materials. “The Indian manufacturers even have the power to bargain while in Sri Lanka they have to call for tenders and it takes time and this makes the cost higher.
He said that this was one of the main reasons that leading Indian Pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to set up factories in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lanka herbal medicine market penetration is low and this was an area for some one to expand.
He said that Citihealth Imports is the fastest growing pharmaceutical company in Sri Lanka.
Their main principal company is Cipla Ltd, a multi-national of India. Cipla is the largest manufacturer of anti HIV and AIDS drugs in the world and is the first company in the world to introduce an AIDS anti medication tablet for less than one dollar.
Citihealth is the only company in Sri Lanka that markets the entire range of HIV and AIDS medications.
“We have created many brand leaders in the Sri Lankan pharmaceutical and consumer market. This product is the artificial sweetener called Lo Kal. It has already beaten the global brand leader Canderal in Sri Lanka.
Almost all five star hotels in the country serve Lo Kal to their guests, he said.
Citihealth has also created history by being the first company to introduce the first oral drug for Thalassaemic patients in Sri Lanka.
The multi-national pharmaceutical giants have throughout attempted to question the quality of pharmaceutical products manufactured in India.
They have now been proved wrong. Eight years ago, most of the leading medical consultants in Sri Lanka refused to prescribe Indian drugs, saying the quality of the drugs was questionable.
We have played a leading role in eradicating that myth. This task was not too difficult when you market products from manufacturers such as Cipla.
Cipla manufacturing has been certified by the gold standard pharmaceutical regulator, the Federal Drug Adminstration best known as the FDA in the USA. They have also been approved by the Medicines Control Agency of UK and many other global regulatory bodies.
“We supply pharamceuticals and surgical consumable to the State Pharmaceutical Corporation and to all government hospitals in the country, he said.