European drug makers want Thailand as production hub

pix - 3European pharmaceutical makers see Thailand as a promising regional development and production hub for medicines and biotechnology products and want the Thai government to facilitate joint ventures between Thai and European firms, the head of the Thai-European Business Association said last week.

“European biotech pharmaceutical producers want Thailand as their regional hub because it has plenty of raw materials while they have the technology,” said Uli Kaiser, president of the Thai-European Business Association (TEBA).

Thailand’s biodiversity means it has a wealth of herbs and other bio-based ingredients to offer, Kaiser said, adding that European pharmaceutical firms interested in investing in the Kingdom would commit to engaging in technology transfers. The partnerships could help raise Thailand’s capabilities and competitiveness in an industry normally associated with more advanced economies.

European companies want the Thai government to set up a business-matching event with local firms. TEBA believes there are about 40 Thai firms with profiles that make them good potential partners for their larger European counterparts. Most of the Thai firms are small and medium sized enterprises.

Industry Minister Atchaka Sibunruang said TEBA’s interest presents a good opportunity for Thailand to tap into European knowledge and expertise, technology and capital, and she is hoping European firms would expand investment in the pharmaceutical business here.

European investment should result in Thai businesses raising their standards and advancing their technology, she said. “TEBA is concerned about good manufacturing practices, and is urging Thailand to improve our drug standards with the Public Health Ministry,” she said.

According to the Board of Investment, Thailand (BOI) produces 25 active pharmaceutical ingredients such as sodium chloride, camphor and menthol. But local drug companies pour less than 1 percent of their budgets into research and development of new or additional ingredients. Consequently, most active ingredients have to be imported from manufacturers overseas, mainly in the United States, Germany and Switzerland.

BOI estimated the value of the country’s pharmaceuticals market at about $3.6 billion, with 78 percent of sales absorbed by hospitals and 12 percent by drugstores. The Board forecast that the market would be worth over $7 billion by 2019 because of strong growth prospects.

In 2014, Thailand hosted the 74th International Congress of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). A federation of national associations representing 2 million pharmaceutical scientists around the world, the FIP said it chose to hold the event in Thailand because the country’s vibrant pharmaceuticals industry is driven by high standards, competition and innovation.



Thailand Focus Week of October 26, 2015
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