The Jakarta Post
Amid the global COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 2,000 people around the world, Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto says that the disease has opened up new opportunities for local pharmaceutical industries.
“The outbreak should be an opportunity for us. This is our chance to strengthen ourselves,” Terawan said on Friday as quoted by Antara news agency.
The minister made the statement as he said he saw China was temporarily unable to produce medicine because of the outbreak. Responding to the situation, Terawan urged citizens to consume modern drugs made out of natural ingredients from Indonesia.
“Modern medications from Indonesia have a lot of benefits. They have little to no side effects. I think this is a great market potential,” the minister said.
Prior to the outbreak, Indonesia depended on other countries such as China to supply raw materials for medicine production. Almost 90 percent of raw materials used by Indonesian pharmaceutical manufacturers were imported – 60 percent of which came from China.
Terawan said Indonesia still had enough raw materials to meet the nation’s medicine needs. The government would also encourage local pharmaceutical companies to find their own supplies of raw materials and reduce their dependency on other countries.
To support local pharmaceutical companies, the minister said the Health Ministry’s traditional medicine research center would collaborate with other parties to develop medications made using local ingredients.
"We still have enough supply," Terawan said.
The World Health Organization recorded that COVID-19 had killed 2,247 people around the globe as of Friday, most of whom were patients in mainland China. There have been eight deaths outside mainland China, including two cases in Iran and one each in Japan and South Korea.
The United Nations’ health body has also recorded 76,769 confirmed COVID-19 cases globally. (dpk)