Azerbaijan, Baku, November 29 / Trend /
Ellada Khankishiyeva, Trend Analytical Center Head
The pharmaceutical industry is one of Azerbaijan's important non-oil sector areas. It aims at providing the population and health care companies with quality medicaments.
However, despite the external goodwill in the retail trade, the state of the domestic pharmaceutical products is unsatisfactory. According to the Azerbaijani State Statistics Committee, the production of pharmaceutical products in the country amounted to two million manat in January-October 2011 or 16 per cent less than the volume of production during the same period in 2010.
Many problems occurred after gaining independence and as a result of difficult economic aspects in the Azerbaijani pharmaceutical industry, as well as in other areas of the economy. Now pharmaceutical production has almost ceased.
Almost all the former Soviet republics, except Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania, suffered a crisis in the pharmaceutical industry. It was possible to provide the population and health care companies in our own independent country by importing from foreign countries. This had its difficulties, such as serious quality control of the medications, high cost of transportation and registration after examination.
Then, there was the serious question about establishing a plant producing pharmaceutical factory in Azerbaijan appearing on the agenda. Finally, the Farm Sintez Holdinq was founded in 1998. Two production enterprises Azerfarm and Azersintez were established as part of this organisation for the short term. This was made up by Turkish and Iranian organisations plus the Azerbaijani Health Ministry participating in the establishment of the Farm Sintez Holdinq organisation.
Azersintez produces 20,000 bottles of infusion solution a day for the Republic. There is a five and 10 per cent glucose solution made, a 0.9 per cent isotonic natrium chloride for injections and Ringer and Ringer-Laktat infusion solutions are also produced
Azerfarm produces up to 150medical products. Modern equipment has been installed at the plant enabling it to produce antibiotics, vitamins, analgesics, antihistamines, anti-rheumatic, dermatony, expectorants and other medicines. Each batch of medicaments is marked by individual serial number and is being tested for quality in the Azerfarm analytical laboratory.
At present, Azerbaijan exports 23 kinds of medicaments to Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. All exported medicaments are produced by Azerfarm.
Azersintez has not exported its products abroad yet. This means the Azerbaijani industry has not been represented in the global market of pharmaceuticals. It has to import medicaments from other countries to the amount exceeding the allowable limit of national security.
It is considered that the funds invested in Azerbaijan to establish local medicament production will not be repaid. However, the investors' interest in building enterprises in Azerbaijan, producing medicaments, increases and becomes more insistent. There are proposals from the British company to build a plant producing insulin. The largest Egyptian pharmaceutical company ACDIMA has already started constructing the plant producing medicaments on the Apsheron Peninsula. According to the Egyptian side, the new plant will cover a significant part of Azerbaijan's needs. The world pharmaceutical companies also continue to acquire subsidiaries in Azerbaijan.
According to the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee, Azerbaijan imported medicaments amounting to $175.7 million in January-October 2011, or 49.2 percent more compared to the same period of last year. This happens in such terms when the state has significant resources of high quality plant material and oil. Azerbaijan's rich flora testifies this.
At present, oil has great significance for the modern pharmaceutical industry, as different organic substances are obtained from oil. Oil is used in many medicaments. Their list would take more than one page. Here is just one example - Naftalan oil.
There are no light fractions in this unique fluid. Its hydrocarbon composition significantly differs from the oil extracted at other fields. It contains a compound, which is part of cholesterol, cholic acid, sex hormones, vitamin D and other biologically active substances. The patients who seek healing from the pain and ulcers gathered at this deposit, where the oil was extracted from shallow wells dug by hand for centuries.
Azerbaijan has a high potential, including research. This allows it to keep developing original products and competing with the leading world countries with a minimum amount of financial resources. It is necessary to develop its own strategy of developing the pharmaceutical industry which should take place in the near future.