By Amina Nazarli
Azerbaijan keens to develop its own pharmaceutical production, as the state sees this sector among the major directions allowing to diversify the non-oil sector of the economy.
Taking into account the profitability of pharmaceutical sector, the country voiced intention to cooperate with foreign companies in this direction.
Currently, the country’s medicine market by almost 97 percent dependent on import, and establishing own production of medicines will have a positive effect on the development of the pharmaceutical industry.
President Ilham Aliyev speaking at the Cabinet meeting recently said that Azerbaijan is preparing a serious program for medicine production in the country, along with creating industrial centers and upgrading industrial potential of each region in this year.
“Today the time has come for Azerbaijan to begin production of medicines. Relevant instructions have been given negotiations with several foreign companies are underway. There is a big interest, as the Azerbaijani market is big enough,” he said.
“We will develop the industrial potential in this area, reduce dependence on imports, but at the same time, we will be able to provide our citizens with more high-quality medicines. I believe that before the end of the year all of the negotiation process, all organizational matters should be resolved. This year we should start the construction of pharmaceutical factories.”
MP Musa Guliyev, highlighting the construction of pharmaceutical factories in the country, stated that either all medicine manufactured in Azerbaijan or raw materials should be exempt from value-added tax (VAT) to boost the sector development.
Excluding only this matter, there is no any other factor in the Azerbaijani legislation impeding medicine production, he said.
“Azerbaijan has no legislation problem with manufacturing medicines locally. We are open to consider in the Parliament any offers from entrepreneurs and pharmacists regarding the creation of domestic pharmaceutical industry. However, it will be good if either medicine or raw materials used for production of medicine will be exempted from VAT. In this case, cost of domestic drugs will drop. This issue has already been practiced in several countries, and I think that the government should consider it,” he said.
Despite the opportunities, medicine production in Azerbaijan is not managed well. According to the Health Ministry only 55 medicines are manufactured in the country. As many as 57 percent of medicines registered in the country are produced in Europe, 26 percent in the CIS countries, including 12 percent made in Russia. The small proportion is produced in Asian countries.
In April, Azerbaijan and Iran have signed an agreement on joint production of more than 90 types of medicines in Azerbaijan.
Being established in Sumgayit Industrial Park, some 49 percent of the shares in the pharmaceutical company belong to Iran, and 51 percent belong to Azerbaijan.
Many leading companies from Switzerland, Russia, Egypt and Hungary are also interested in joint medicine production in Azerbaijan.