KATHMANDU, May 22: After a hiatus of eight years, Nepal Drugs Limited (NDL) is resuming the supply of its product Jeevan Jal - the popular oral rehydration salts (ORS) -- in the domestic market from Monday.
According to Robash Kusim Subedi, general manager of NDL, Jeevan Jal of orange flavor will be supplied to the market all over the country through its distributors.
The ORS will be available in 22-gram pouch and will retail at Rs 9 per pouch.
“Jeevan Jal will be available in the market after a gap of eight years. We have started production by installing new plants and fulfilling Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) requirements of the World Health Organization (WHO),” Subedi said.
The company had to stop production in 2009 after it failed to meet GMP standard of WHO. A cabinet meeting held in September last year had decided to provide Rs 146.05 million to the NDL, giving the state-owned drug maker a new lease of life. It has already received Rs 64.08 million as the first installation of the government credit.
Subedi told Republica that the NDL was currently producing 10,000 pouches of Jeevan Jal per day.
“We have already started preparations to double the production of Jeevan Jal to 20,000 packets. We will be sending around 20,000 pouches of Jeevan Jal to the market every day within the next 15 days,” he said, adding: “We will try to supply huge chunk of our productions to the far-western districts as people there are in dire need of Jeevan Jal.”
According to Subedi, the daily demand for ORS in the domestic market is around 100,000 pouches.
“As local production is insufficient to meet the demand, Nepal has been importing huge quantity of ORS from neighboring countries. Our aim is to reduce import of medicines by producing quality medicines at home and offering them to consumers at cheaper rate,” added Subedi. “As our motto is 'Quality Medicine at Reasonable Cost', we won't be focused on profit-making only.”
NDL has been producing Jeeval Jal by using raw materials available in the country as well as importing some from India and China. The company plans to produce 15 types of most-consumed medicines in Nepal in the second phase. Likewise, it will produce other medicines like capsules, penicillin, ointments, among others, in the third phase.
According to NDL, the medicines produced in the second phase will be available in the market from mid-September and the medicines produced in the third phase will be out in market from mid-April next year.
“NDL will produce all 70 medicines that the government has announced to distribute free of cost to all citizens. Despite the challenges, we have planned to produce anti-venom and anti-rabies vaccines by mid-April 2018. We are hopeful that the company will produce these sensitive vaccines within the deadline,” said Subedi, adding that availability of medicines in cheaper rates will put pressure on other drug-makers to reduce their prices.