Last month president Joe Biden announced the United States waving the vaccine in the Covid-19 pandemic response. This statement of Joe Biden was first seen as a major boost as the coronavirus. But there are countries that do not have so much financial stability as the US. But among them, Nepal planned to put a step ahead. In this article, we will discuss the Nepal foreign pharmaceutical investment.
However the real fact is it is not enough to waive patent rights, the main job is the transfer of this technology to the countries that are capable of providing the infrastructure for the production of vaccines like India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and its neighboring countries. So it is important to support the growing investment in the medicine industry.
But for nations like Nepal, which do not even hold the capability of that infrastructure, the boost in US vaccination drive made it realize how to boost the production of India’s manufacturers and to formulate new vaccines to keep up with the new emerging strain. Nepal has identified the need for foreign investment in pharmaceuticals.
Nepali pharmaceutical industry despite all the ups and downs it faced in the past years fails to get themselves benefited from any further on any transfer of technology on vaccine or patent waiver.
Nepal foreign pharmaceutical investment is yet to be seen. Nepal has not shown any improvement in undertaking development and research of intervention and drugs that the country needs to witness.
There are about an average of 100 pharmaceutical manufacturers in Nepal, and they are all competing with each other to formulate only generic drugs, whose dosage formulation and form have been used in the public domain for over decades.
Even before the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, none of these pharmaceutical industries were manufacturing the kinds of vaccines that were needed by Nepal the most: for instance, against measles, diphtheria, typhoid, pertussis and tetanus, rabies, or even an emergency life-saving drug like snake antivenom.
The reason the pharmaceutical industry sector of Nepal limits its production to generic manufacturing is solely due to the lack of investment in the pharmaceutical industry. A brand name drug comes into the market after years of pre-clinical studies, innovation, and clinical trials of the novel dosage form of the medicine molecule.
The world’s big pharmaceutical companies receive attractive investment opportunities in their research and development through the sales of the patents. Some spend as much as 20% of their revenue on conducting research on new drugs.
The highest supplier of generic drugs in the world is India and it supplies them to the US and Europe, having a 2% market share of the global export. However, India is now entering into the manufacturing of branded drugs and is collaborating with multinational companies, and while doing so, it gains technological know-how. Bharat Biotech’s formulation of its own Covid-19 vaccine brand known as COVAXIN is an example of innovation.
Nepal is centrally placed to be a base for the manufacture and export of pharmaceutical vaccines and drugs. With a population of 30 million, it is not a small country and has a sizable domestic market. The Nepal’s pharmaceutical sector’s total turnover is Rs. 55 billion every year, and medicines accommodate more than half of the out-of-pocket spending of the people of Nepal.
But having the correct policies for foreign direct investment (FDI) can also be a basis for exports for the pharmaceutical companies in collaborating with international pharmaceutical companies revolving around foreign investment laws. Right next door neighbors, China and India are prime examples of what one can achieve with the transfer of FDI technology. Nepal’s biennial investment summits have not yet seriously offered the pharmaceutical sector as being a priority for FDI.
The nationalism and geopolitics that have identified the present Covid-19 vaccine rollout across the world have proven how vaccines and medicines can have strategic importance during a global pandemic. It is time for Nepal to end its over-dependence on the outside world for its supply of vaccines and essential drugs by making it easier for Nepal foreign pharmaceutical investment.