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Azerbaijan in talks on creation of joint pharmaceutical plants

6 January 2017 16:50 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijan in talks on creation of joint pharmaceutical plants

By Amina Nazarli

Azerbaijan is in talks with Turkish and Ukrainian companies to set up joint pharmaceutical plants.

Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev said that currently these companies prepare business plans and documents on the technical justification of their projects.

"Moreover, work is underway to attract European companies to Azerbaijan. Thus, the delegation of the ministry visited Germany and Switzerland, where it held talks with potential partners. These companies have expressed interest in cooperation with Azerbaijan for the production of medicines. Some companies have expressed interest in the creation of packaging enterprises for patented drugs, which will be produced in our country," he said in an interview to Azertac.

In addition to the construction of pharmaceutical factories, Mustafayev said that investors are interested in other medical areas such as production of disposable syringes.

The minister reminded that in November 2016 construction of the first joint plant has already been launched. The Russian private hi-tech pharmaceutical company R-Pharm, Azerbaijan Investment Company and Vita-A LLC (Azerbaijan) signed a deal on the creation of Hayat Pharm Joint Venture on November 2 in Baku.

"Engineering work is conducted by leading German and Italian companies, and the cost of the project is $74 million. The plant will manufacture drugs for the treatment of HIV infection, for treatment of nervous system diseases, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and respiratory systems, antibiotics, drugs for diabetes, as well as X-ray contrast agents, and apparatus for magnetic resonance examinations," he said.

In total, the company will release 89 kinds of medicines. The plant's capacity will be 22.5 million packages, or 500 million tablets and capsules.

The minister further added that in January, Azerbaijan also plans to lay the foundation of a joint pharmaceutical factory with Iran.

"Creation of an enterprise will take place in stages: the first stage stipulates manufacture of drugs in the form of tablets and capsules, the second - in the form of ampoules and vials, and the third - a more extended range of antibiotics. The cost of the first stage is $20.5 million. In its framework it is projected to manufacture 84 different types of painkillers, antibiotics, anti-allergic, gastrointestinal, anti-fungal and other medicines," Mustafayev noted.

Mustafayev went on saying that due to the regulation of drug prices in Azerbaijan, the state budget and population annually save more than $ 650 million.

He said if in 2014 the import of a medicine box was worth $3, then now the figure is $ 1.4.

"Regulation of the market of medicines began in mid-2015. In the preparation of price control methodology, Azerbaijan has studied the experience of nearly 20 countries. The applied mechanism allows determine the optimal price for medicines. Currently, prices for 10,166 different kinds of medicines have been approved, and starting September 1, 2016, the government allows sell drugs only at the approved prices," he explained.

Mustafayev noted that after the regulation of drug prices, the medicine costs decreased by 5-10 times in some cases.

"The import of drugs in 2016 increased by 20 percent compared to 2015. In 2016, some 80 percent of drugs were imported from Europe and other developed countries. The remainder of the imports came in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus," he said.

In late 2015, the government announced that Azerbaijan will create own enterprises that will manufacture medicines to cease dependence on imports.

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Amina Nazarli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @amina_nazarli

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