President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev held a meeting on November 15 to analyze the ongoing work aimed at advancing the pharmaceutical industry in the country and the state of medicines supply, as well as to discuss priority tasks for the future.
In accordance with a 7 November 2017 decree of the head of our state envisaging measures to radically improve the management system of the pharmaceutical sector, the Agency for Pharmaceutical Industry Development was set up under the Ministry of Healthcare. To support entrepreneurs in the sphere, the terms for registration of drugs and medical devices have been reduced. Local manufacturers are exempt from customs duties when importing raw materials and technological equipment.
As a result, over the past two years, 41 new pharmaceutical enterprises have been created, and their total number has reached 191. This year, the volume of production in the industry has increased 1.5 times compared to last year’s indicators.
In the 8 free economic zones of pharmaceutical orientation, 18 new capacities with a total value of 84 million dollars were commissioned, and they have launched the production of 600 titles of drugs and more than 50 types of medical devices.
Nonetheless, these capacities are barely enough, nor is the range of locally produced pharmacy goods. Thus the domestic demand is not fully met, and the shortage has to be reimbursed with imports, as it was noted at the meeting.
The volume of the pharmaceutical market in our country is estimated at more than 1 billion US dollars, while the share of local manufacturers in it is small. Difficult is the oversight of the quality and pricing of medicines due to the lack of a labeling system and the inability to fully trace the movement of goods. Thus, over the past two years, cases of importing drugs worth 123 billion soums that hardly meet quality standards have been identified.
With this in mind, a reliable and effective way to improve public health is to enhance the production of high-quality pharmacy goods from ecologically friendly medicinal plants that grow in our country.
During the meeting, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev paid particular attention to these aspects and identified priority tasks for providing the population and healthcare facilities with affordable and high-quality drugs, medical devices and equipment.
Opportunities are sufficient to localize at least 50 percent of domestic consumption by 2025, it was stressed, and to bring the range of domestic products from the current 2.5 thousand to 4 thousand items.
The Agency for Pharmaceutical Industry Development, the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade have been tasked with compiling a list of new goods being invented, with working out promising projects together with major pharmaceutical enterprises in India, Russia, Ukraine, China, Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia.
Corresponding executives have been instructed to expand the range of original domestic medicines to at least 100 titles in the next five years, to organize for these purposes a modern technology park in Tashkent region’s Kibray district in conjunction with enterprises and research institutions, as well as a branch of a prestigious British university. Special emphasis is placed on the training of modern specialists and their advanced training in the field abroad.
The Ministry of Finance and the Agency for Pharmaceutical Industry Development have been tasked with developing software for labeling and overseeing the movement of drugs, and introducing it before the end of 2020. This will prevent the circulation of counterfeit products and track the demand for medicines in real time.
At the enterprises of the industry, the GMP quality standard recommended by the World Health Organization is being introduced. In this regard, in order to provide the market with quality products, the President recommended that a procedure be introduced for mandatory verification of compliance with this standard when registering imported medicines.
The meeting participants also examined the state of completeness of the supply of healthcare facilities with affordable and high-quality goods. It was determined that in order to ensure the transparency of this process, the procurement of drugs for state medical institutions, their storage and delivery will be carried out in a new order.
Thus, a transparent procedure is to be secured through bids for centralized procurement by the Ministry of Healthcare.
Bid winners are to provide services for centralized procurement, storage and delivery of medicines to public healthcare institutions.
The President expounded on the need for eradication of corruption in the pharmaceuticals market, for the development of healthy competition in the field, and the uninterrupted supply of high-quality and affordable medicines to social pharmacies.
The head of our state emphasized the importance of explaining the reforms in the industry implemented to the wider public through the media.
Officials were tasked with devising a five-year strategy for the pharmaceutical sector development.
On the issues discussed at the meeting, responsible executives presented information and pending measures were identified.