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Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai. March 16 , 2023
Since the state does not have a single factory to manufacture the intravenous fluids (IV fluids), the Kerala Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (KPMA) has sent a proposal to the state government urging it to establish one IV fluid manufacturing unit on public-private-partnership model. KPMA is ready to represent the private sector.

According to a study conducted by the association, the total requirement of the IV fluid in the state is valued at Rs. 720 crore and the products are imported from other states to Kerala.

The association leaders have met the state industry minister P Rajiv and informed him that they are ready to undertake the project provided the government provides infrastructure facilities and other support. KPMA will take care of the manpower and technology parts. The association feels that once such a unit is set up in Kerala under the guidance of the government, the products can be supplied to the public and private sectors at cheaper rates and quality of the products can be maintained.

Briefing Pharmabiz about the proposal, Purushothaman Namputhiri, president of the association said the industry minister has given an assurance for consideration of the proposal because the government is also aware of the necessity of such a factory in Kerala. He said he will discuss the matter with the industry secretary and the health secretary shortly. As far as investment is concerned, KPMA expects a fund flow from all stakeholders of healthcare through advance payments, mainly from hospitals and marketing agencies, for the products.
 
Seeking support from the government, Namputhiri wanted the industry minister to design a revival package for the state’s pharma sector. According to the association, Kerala’s medicinal requirements have a market size of Rs. 10,000 crore, out of which only one percent is spent on procurement from local manufacturers. The major reason for this shortfall is the lack of industrial units whose number has come down from 70 to 15 in the last 20 years. Namputhiri said the annual general body (AGM) meeting of the association consists of only nine or ten members.
 
“There are a few good companies with good turnout, but they focus on north Indian states as their markets. The state medical services corporation (KMSCL) is procuring medicines from companies belonging to other states. We are not getting any support from the government and the government is not at all interested in developing the local pharma sector. Besides, the government has no crystal clear plan to strengthen the manufacturing sector. The state’s public sector enterprises are also not better”, says the president of the KPMA.
 
In the discussion with the minister, he said although the number of existing companies in Kerala is very less, they make almost all the medicinal products required for emergency purposes. Mainly the segments the manufacturers engaged in are antibiotics, anti leprosy, eye drops, ear drops and nasal drops (sterile), injectables, soft gel/hard capsules, tablets, liquid orals (syrups/suspensions) and topical preparations (cream, ointment, gel, lotions etc).
 
The association is sure that their members can undertake contract manufacturing and supply products to the larger companies in other states on the lines of the marketing companies operate. For this the manufacturing facilities need to be modernized and technology should be upgraded to the level of international standards.

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