Introducing the new drugs policy, health minister Rajitha Senaratne saw that there had been a 800-fold increase in the prices of imported drugs than the normal prices. The SPMC at Ratmalana is ready to manufacture the local requirement and help control the prices of imported drugs. It will release drugs under the generic name, not the brand name.
The opening of the SPMC in 1987 as a gift of Japan’s JICA realized one dream of the late Prof. Senaka Bibile to produce high quality drugs by a state entity, which will be marketed at affordable prices. By now, it is the leader in the manufacture of common drugs and antibiotics. Japan continues to support the SPMC, signing agreements in January to establish another manufacturing facility at a Rs. 1.5 billion cost.
Earning Rs. 1.7 b in 2014, the SPMC recorded a Rs. 392 million net profit that year. It now intends supplying the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation which only imports and sells the drugs needed by the Health Services Department.
Senaratne has said the entire requirement of drugs would be produced locally by 2019. The SPMC’s annual output is 1,900 million tablets and pills, which is 43 pc of that requirement. Its chairman Dr. Sayura Samarasundara said they hoped to open three or four new manufacturing facilities within the next four years, and to raise the production capacity to 4,000 m.