May 12 01:27

RI should increase investment in pharmaceutical sector: minister

Nusa Dua, Bali (Antara News) - Industry Minister Fahmi Idris said Indonesia must increase investment in the pharmaceutical sector to obtain cheap medical drugs.

"The polcy to throw the country wide open to foreign investment should eventually enable the people to obtain medicines at fair prices," said Fahmi after speaking in a business forum of the group of eight developing countries (D-8) summit here on Thursday.

The minister further said it was time for the Health Ministry and the Food and Drugs Controlling Agency (BPOM) to focus not only on protecting people from dangerous drugs but also on enabling the public to obtain cheap drugs.

To make it cheaper, the government made a policy to develop generic medicines five years ago but their prices remained high.

Therefore, Fahmi said, one of the best alternatives to control medicine prices was to provide wider opportunities for pharmaceutical industry.

"Their presence will encourage healthy competition," he added.

On the possibility that Indonesia would buy tamiflu tablets to help fight avian influenza or bird flu from Bangladesh, he said that Indonesia had invited the country`s businessmen to invest in the sector.

"I heard that some companies established cooperation with their partners from Bangladesh and India," he said.(*)
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