Open to setting up drug manufacturing firms: Kerala minister

Thiruvananthapuram, July 22 (IANS) A Kerala minister on Wednesday said the government is open to setting up drug manufacturing companies to provide medicines at affordable rates.

There is an over Rs.1,000 crore market for medicines in the state.

“We are all aware of the skyrocketing cost of medicines. To ensure that our people get medicines at affordable prices, we will commission a study to find out the feasibility of starting new drug manufacturing companies,” Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty told the assembly.

He was responding to a calling attention motion moved by senior Congress legislator V.D. Satheesan stating that the government sector alone purchases medicines worth Rs.300 crore annually.

“At the moment there is one state owned drug manufacturer (Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals) and they manufacture very few medicines,” Satheesan told IANS.

“The problem with KSDP is that they are used to a particular culture which has been in practice for long. But things have changed now and drug manufacturing has become an easy task,” he added.

He said the Congress will launch a statewide campaign to fight fleecing by drug manufacturers.

One of the key companies the Kerala government is planning to associate with is the central mini-ratna company HLL Lifecare Ltd, headquartered in the capital city.

The company is in the process of implementing a Rs.594-crore Integrated Vaccines Project at Chengalpet near Chennai.

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