Sat, 09 Jan 2010
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Head of the Indonesia Pharmaceutical Entrepreneurs Association Anthony C.H. Sunarjo has confirmed that ASEAN-China free trade threatens the domestic pharmaceutical industry.

“Especially small- and medium-size companies,” he said when contacted on Wednesday.

According to Anthony, China and India could produce cheaper medicines because of their large economic-production scales. Each country could produce 10 million medicines at low prices.”With the same cost we could only produce 100,000,” he said.

Anthony said that India was more advanced and could produce a larges amount of medicine. Indian-made medicines are also marketed internationally, reaching the USA. “Our medicine production is still on a domestic scale,” he said.

China now follows India’s footsteps in producing and marketing medicines. China could already produce patent medicine.

Because of this, Anthony explained, they have already asked for a delay in the ASEAN-China Free trade delay. He said he was worried about its impact on 200 domestic pharmaceutical companies. To paint a picture, he said, out of 200 pharmaceutical industries, the big players are only 20 companies with an 80 percent market share worth Rp30 trillion.

The government has taken steps to protect domestic pharmaceutical industry, said Anthony, by reducing tariffs. Medicines entering Indonesia should use Indonesian labels. Factories must fulfill a certain standard. “Now all we have to think about is about the competitive capacity,” he said.

Previously, Kimia Farma President Director Sjamsul Arifin said that the pharmaceutical industry could face ASEAN-China Free Trade. ”There are still many barriers,” he said when contacted by Tempo last Tuesday.According to Sjamsul, medicines are not like other commodities, which do not require numerous regulations.

He said that Chinese medicines entering Indonesia should be registered and obtain doctors’ recommendation. “It is not as simple as non-medicine products,” said Sjamsul.In the short term, the Indonesia pharmaceutical industry is still safe but Sjamsul acknowledged that in the long term, China would become a threat. “If they have already registered their products, we could not forbid them,” he said.

IQBAL MUHTAROM



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