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Jakarta Post

Pharma companies still dependent on imported APIs, says ministry

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, October 18, 2018   /   03:08 pm
Pharma companies still dependent on imported APIs, says ministry The Health Ministry has said that local drug companies were still dependent on imported ingredients due to the extremely high cost of developing a pharmaceutical laboratory for research and clinical trials. (Shutterstock/File)

The Health Ministry has said that local pharmaceutical companies still relied heavily on imported chemical ingredients – active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) – because the industry was unable to carry out sufficient research on developing such materials.

“About 90 percent of the pharmaceutical industry still uses imported materials, particularly chemical ingredients, because it is not easy to produce those materials,” the ministry’s Health Research and Development Agency (Balitbangkes) head, Siswanto, said on Wednesday in Magelang, Central Java, as quoted by

Siswanto said that many ingredients were patented by pharmaceutical companies in Germany, France and Japan, while Indonesia lacked appropriate laboratory facilities for researching the development of pure chemicals as an initial step toward processing and producing APIs.

He added that Indonesia had no plans to develop a pharmaceutical laboratory in the near future, because of the exorbitant costs of establishing such a facility.

“The cost is too high. We [can] produce many medical substances, but the cost of clinical tests is too high. It could reach billions of rupiah,” said Siswanto.

One solution to help reduce the dependence on pharmaceutical chemical ingredients would be to develop local herbs and other natural ingredients used in traditional herbal treatments across the archipelago.

“[...] We must carry out research on plants and animal [materials] and test them for their medicinal properties and after that, they could be used for antibodies, anesthetics and other [medicines],” he continued.

Siswanto said the ministry currently had three consortiums for developing vaccines and other medicinal products. (bbn)