Sunshine Healthcare’s Shyam Sathasivam calls for urgent private public collaboration for a sustainable pharma industry

(PRESS RELEASE) – August 21, 2017: Newly-elected President of the Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) Shyam Sathasivam, Managing Director of Sunshine Healthcare Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, urged the Government to consult and collaborate with all key stakeholders to address the major prevailing issues in the local pharmaceutical industry – particularly with regard to the formulation of a viable pricing mechanism for imported medicines.

Founded in 1961, SLCPI represents over 70 members who account for over 90% of the private pharmaceutical industry across the value chain from manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers, providing the Sri Lankan Patients with a range of over 800 pharmaceutical molecules from 364 manufacturers from across the world. The industry value chain has over 60,000 direct employees and over 240,000 indirect employees. The Chamber’s membership comprises major corporates in the local industry and is an affiliate of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce

Elaborating on his vision for the industry, Sathasivam called for greater relationship and rapport building between SLCPI membership and the Ministry of Health and National Medical Regulatory Authority (NMRA) and engage with them on pricing and other matters. Resolving member issues on regulatory matters needs to be systematic and steps towards that will also be priority.

“Establishing a protocol and norms for stakeholder management is critical for our business” said Sathasivam. “Defending our position with facts and white-papers is definitely the way forward and must be done consistently” he urged.

Further outlining his vision for his tenure as president, Sathasivam said that skills building and setting standards for the medical reps teams is also a strong necessity. “The image of our front-line team needs to step up. For this to happen, the industry must invest significantly in training and development”.  Sathasivam spoke of engaging the services of institutions such as Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) in upping the level of professionalism among front-line medical teams.

“At the end of the day, stakeholders must realize the true value of the Pharma Industry and not portray us negatively”, he explained, showing statistics about the impact on private pharmaceutical market due to major foreign exchange losses and price reduction, Sathasivam said, “We kindly request the government to allow the industry to adjust pricing to the current exchange rate so that we could ensure a sustainable supply of quality medications while keeping in mind the end consumer.”

“The price control gazette in October 2016 enacted with overnight caused severe disruptions and losses along the supply chain of more than Rs 1 billion to manufacturers and importers. This led to significant increase in defaults of pharmaceutical retailers and closure or slowing down of SME pharma retailers and distributors. We humbly request that such directives should be applied only after providing the industry with sufficient time to respond by depleting current inventory and taking necessary administrative measures,” Sathasivam stated.

“Over the last 9 months, we have slowly begun to recover the losses but enormous increases on all regulatory fees across the board had further impacted the entire pharma value chain including small retailers. These factors have the potential for negative socio-economic repercussions at a national level; hence we request that the Government enter into consultation and collaboration with all key stakeholders in order to arrive at a fair and feasible pricing formula.”

Sharing his thoughts on an outline for mitigating regulatory challenges, Sathasivam stated: “Implementation of NMRA regulations and commitments has been a significant challenge over recent years. We look forward to working closely with NMRA on resolving import license and re-registration issues, getting clarity on all requirements for new registrations so that the approval time is definite and short.

He also spoke of the absolute need for improved relationship with the Regulator and the Line Ministry through the establishment of skills-building initiatives and workshops to improve the engagement levels.

The new council members appointed for the year 2017/2018 are:

  • President: Shyam Sathasivam, Managing Director, Sunshine Healthcare Lanka (Pvt) Limited
  • Senior Vice President: Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson, Managing Director, Hemas Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Limited
  • Vice President: Sanjiva Wijesekera, Executive Director, George Steuart Health (Pvt) Limited
  • Secretary: Azam Jaward, Managing Direcot/CEO, Cipla Pharma Lanka (Pvt) Limited
  • Treasurer: Sirimal Fernando, Deputy Managing Director, Astron Limited