We are at the end of very complex, controversial and unpredictable dynamic year- 2020. It was filled with challenges and set us tasks that required application of the effective solutions under circumstances of time constrains and deficiency of reliable information. Along with this year passing, we are witnessing the pass of a whole decade that was attributed by changes, reforms, economic challenges for whole nation and healthcare field in particular. But, what these passed years were like for Kazakhstani pharmaceutical industry and one of its leaders - NOBEL Almaty Pharmaceutical Factory? This question and some other questions we addressed to the NOBEL Almaty Pharmaceutical Factory General Director, Mr. Selcuk Tanriverdi:
- Key question – what are those outcomes and achievements the NOBEL Almaty Pharmaceutical Factory closes this year with?
- The NOBEL AFF company has been operating in the Kazakhstani pharmaceutical market for almost 19 years. During this time, we have achieved tremendous success and we are greatly proud of it. Today we have a up-to-date pharmaceutical products manufacture that meets the international standards of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). The "NOBEL AFF" company consistently occupies the second position in the rating of Kazakhstani manufacturers and is one of the three leaders in terms of share in the total volume of the pharmaceutical market. We have come to a good balance - more than 30% of the volume of manufactured products is supplied within the guaranteed volume of medical care and in the compulsory medical insurance system, over 30% is supplied in the retail sector of the pharmaceutical market, i.e. through pharmacies, and just over 30% is exported. Among those pharmaceutical companies, NOBEL AFF is the # 1 exporter. We are systematically expanding our export geography, which is a good evidence of the competitiveness of the company products. Deliveries to Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan have been arranged. In the near future, we plan to start exporting products to Turkey. We strive to ensure that NOBEL AFF becomes the central production hub in the CIS countries region.
Year 2020 was a difficult year for all sectors of the country’s economy. For the first time, we faced a global pandemic, which required unconventional approaches, focusing on the most important value - human health. And, of course, in this situation, the whole world, with bated breath, watched the operations of medical workers and pharmaceutical companies who were saving patients and looking for effective solutions in the fight against COVID-19.
In general, speaking about the difficulties, I would like to note that at the beginning of this year, against the background of increased demand for certain pharmaceutical ingredients, there were restrictions on its procurement. This was due to the suspension of the activities of factories producing substances, as well as due to the restrictions on its export.
Despite this, we as a manufacturer of pharmaceutical products have made every possible effort to ensure that the population of our country is provided with drugs, not only those used in the therapy of COVID-19, but also drugs for the treatment of other diseases.
Moreover, within the shortest possible time, we established production and registered a number of drugs for the treatment of COVID-19, which were in high demand. Rivaroxaban the anticoagulant is one of those.
- What changes have occurred in the Kazakhstani pharmaceutical industry over the past 10 years? What played the most significant role in its development? In your opinion, what actions could be taken to achieve more?
- Over the past decade, Kazakhstani pharmaceutical industry has gone through a large-scale qualitative transformation. In 2010, there were only a few enterprises in the Republic that met GMP standards. At that time, the domestic pharmaceutical industry produced a limited range of drugs. Of course, with those conditions, one could only dream of getting at least in the TOP-10 market leaders.
But everything has changed. Over the past 10 years, enterprises in the industry have made a giant step forward and, of course, government support has played an important role in this. Today you can see yourself, almost all enterprises comply with the GMP standard; the production of modern drugs that are relevant from a therapeutic point of view has been established. Even biotechnological products are produced in the country now. At the same time, Kazakhstani manufacturers are market leaders. Their share in physical terms has already reached almost 40%.
More would be helped by measures to support exports, reimbursement of part of the cost of maintaining the representative office and other costs, and assistance in research and development. Measures to support by-contract manufacturing would also help stimulate the process.
- The year 2020 showed everyone how important it is to have their own pharmaceutical industry and how important it is to strive for independence in terms of drug supply for the population. What do you think are the prospects for Kazakhstan in this regard?
- Against the backdrop of the pandemic, there was a huge and unpredictable demand for medicines. At the same time, there was a decrease in the production of substances in China and India. In this regard, a clear understanding of the need for further development of our own pharmaceutical industry and science has emerged. This became apparent to everyone. Meanwhile, the path to drug independence, as you know, lies through the production of substances, i.e. raw materials. But, of course, producing all the substances for Kazakhstan is impossible, impractical and economically unprofitable. It is only possible to set up a synthesis of some of them, and even then, this will require strong state support and preliminary agreements to ensure the sale of raw materials, at least within the EAEU boundaries.
In this context, I would like to especially note one more achievement of ours - this year we have produces our first pharmaceutical substance at our enterprise. In addition, we began to work towards organizing an R&D center (research and development), for work in which we will attract not only domestic, but also foreign specialists.
- This year, the Republic of Kazakhstan adopted a Comprehensive plan for the development of the pharmaceutical industry. Tell us briefly about the main directions of development.
- The Comprehensive Plan provides the main directions for the support and development of the pharmaceutical and medical industry. Among them are legislative and regulatory acts regulating pharmaceutical activities, circulation of medicines and medical devices within the EAEU, measures of state support, research and development work, attracting investments, staffing the industry, labeling, traceability of medicines and increasing the capacity of domestic manufacturers of medicines and medical devices. As of today, the structure of the pharmaceutical market shows that the presence of domestic enterprises in the market in monetary terms in the first half of the year is 17%, in physical terms - 39%. At the same time, the implementation of the planned activities of the Comprehensive Plan provides for an additional expansion of the range of manufactured medicines. This will allow increasing the share of domestic manufacturers in the market of medicines and medical devices of the Republic of Kazakhstan by 2025 in monetary terms from 17% to 30%, and in natural terms from 39% to 50%, respectively.
- In your opinion, what challenges, will the Kazakhstani pharmaceutical industry face next year? Which one will be the major one?
- The main challenge is still the pandemic and its aftermath. This year, the focus has been on the coronavirus infection. People did not undergo preventive examinations, patients with chronic diseases were also forced to postpone the necessary examinations and therapeutic procedures. Therefore, next year we will be witnessing a delayed effect in the form of various complications, etc.
Another large issue is a huge volume of medicines imported under the single-time import procedure. This was necessary when there was a shock demand for drugs and shortages. But the import continues to this day, when there is no need for it, because irreducible reserves have already been formed, stabilization funds have been created, the population has a bulk of medicines at home. These drugs are not registered in our country. But they still in the Kazakhstani market and compete with drugs formally registered where the requirements of quality, efficacy and safety are proven and observed.
- Traditional and most interesting question. What are your plans for the future?
-- As of 2021, we will start a project to build a new plant, now it is at the design stage. $55 million will be invested in its implementation. In terms of time, it will take approximately 5 years, taking into account accreditation according to international standards and registration procedures. This will be a huge enterprise where we plan to produce biosimilars and pharmaceutical substances. This will be a new stage in the development of our company.
I would like to take this opportunity and congratulate all Kazakhstan people on the upcoming New Year holidays. On the eve of the new year 2021, I want to wish that we come to normal life as soon as possible. Taking this opportunity, I want to congratulate all Kazakhstanis on the upcoming New Year holidays. On the eve of the New Year 2021, I want to wish that we come to normal life as soon as possible.
I wish you happiness, good health and prosperity, dear people of Kazakhstan !!!
- Thank you very much for such a great interview. On my behalf I would like to wish you to get to new achievements and victories in this upcoming decade !!!