Nepal needs pharmacopoeia

Kathmandu :

Pharmacopoeia, according to the concise Oxford dictionary, is an official book that lists all the drugs that can be used to treat people in a particular country and describes how to use them. The need for such a Nepali Pharmacopoeia has increasingly been felt in recent times to serve citizens through the proper supply of medicines and right drugs for common ailments.

The health sector in Nepal has grown many folds after the commencement of democracy in 2046 BS. The sector seems to be most organised in terms of pricing, distribution channel and HRD.

Due to the increased number of hospitals, health institutions and professionals, pharmaceuticals have kept pace with the advancements. People are not going to India or other countries for many health problems now. Specialty service has improved a lot compared to the past. Over the years, Nepal has become self-dependent in several specialty and common medicines, which were not available earlier. Pharmaceutical companies are now able to formulate modern medicines. Technology is now part of quality medicines being manufactured in the nation.

For years Nepal was a big market for India-based pharmaceuticals, but the scenario has changed. Medical professionals are encouraging domestic products. Because of this market share has grown approximately by 40 per cent. The figure is likely to go up if it is thoroughly researched. Still the 60 per cent market is open for the domestic sector consisting of injections, saline, eye-ear preparations, aerosols, cancer medicines, newer dermatological products, and insulin etc.

The government should focus on setting parameters, which will ensure less dependency on foreign products. It is time now to cut down the number of foreign manufacturers through implementation of strict rules and regulations. At least those medicines that domestic manufacturers are manufacturing should not be imported. It will allow domestic industries to grow further.

We are already not importing cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, soaps and several other FMCG products. The result is that the country is now able to meet its demand through its domestic products. Since domestic pharmaceuticals are strictly following Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), they are being continuously monitored by regulatory bodies. The products being manufactured here are of world class competent standard. Government bodies and medical fraternities are also convinced of the quality of medicines here.

Data suggests that Nepali manufacturers not only meet the domestic need but are competent to export some of the products. We have adequate number of professionals to operate modern factories that are guided by GMP.

It is the time to bear down focus on the formulation of a Nepali Pharmacopoeia (NP), the guidelines of which will further enhance the operational methodology. Countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and India have their own Pharmacopoeias, which are serving their population well.

Qualified and experienced Nepali marketing professionals, a good number of whom have experience of working with multinationals and Indian Pharmaceuticals and managers

having contemporary management vision, shall adopt modern ethical marketing practices based on the knowledge of the market and competition.

Present market share of the domestic industry, at approximately 40 per cent, is the result of the leadership quality of professionals, who have been striving for quality for years. As we enter the SAFTA and WTO regime, the prescription for the domestic pharma sector is excellence. This will bring us recognition from foreign regulators and allow us to get into different markets.

(The writer is the national manager marketing, Sumy Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd.)