SANTO: we are ready to ensure drug safety in Kazakhstan - WorldMonitor

SANTO: we are ready to ensure drug safety in Kazakhstan

SANTO Company is part of the global European Polpharma Group. And, in addition to domestically produced drugs, the company’s portfolio also includes drugs produced not only at Polpharma sites, but also at other European companies. So, SANTO is not just a company that sells what it produces, but a...

Irina Chublukova, the Regional Director for Strategic Development and Drug Market Access, Santo

SANTO Company is part of the global European Polpharma Group. And, in addition to domestically produced drugs, the company’s portfolio also includes drugs produced not only at Polpharma sites, but also at other European companies. So, SANTO is not just a company that sells what it produces, but a company that seeks to provide the needs of patients and the healthcare system for affordable medicines, including generics and biosimilars. Thus, the company supplies effective and high-quality drugs that are used in more than 12 pharmacotherapeutic groups, for example, in neurology, cardiology, pediatrics, etc.

In Kazakhstan, a Comprehensive Plan for the development of the pharmaceutical industry until 2025 was developed and approved, in which SANTO Company is a mentor. Could you tell us what awaits the pharmaceutical industry in the next few years and what is the role of SANTO in this future?

SANTO Company, on the part of the pharmaceutical industry, took an active part in the development of the Comprehensive Plan, based on the strategic task of the state, aimed at developing the country’s pharmaceutical industry and meeting the needs of the population in the timely supply of necessary medicines. And the pandemic only contributed to the acceleration of the development of this plan, because the issues of national drug safety were on the agenda. The main objectives of this plan were to expand the range and volume of pharmaceutical products manufactured in Kazakhstan. The country needs its own pharmaceutical industry capable of providing the population with a strategic stock of medicines. To this end, the Comprehensive Plan identified tasks, the implementation of which should lead to an increase in the market share of domestic pharmaceutical manufacturers to the target of 50%, and to better planning of needs for the healthcare system.

It is also necessary to build up high-tech production, in particular, the creation of attractive conditions for the transfer of know-how to the territory of the Republic. As a result, it can attract global pharmaceutical players to the country for the localization of innovative manufacturers.

A very important aspect of the Comprehensive Plan is the development of the R&D direction. SANTO is one of the few companies that brings drugs to the market from its own laboratories. Most of the drug portfolio is our own pharmaceutical developments, implemented in our R&D laboratory, with continuation in biopharmaceutical and clinical research programs. SANTO also has patents inthe EAEU region. Moreover, we provide services for contract in R&D development to external customers from the EAEU countries. And it is in this direction that we see great potential for the development of our company not only in Kazakhstan, but also in all EAEU countries that have an interest in pharmaceutical developments on a contract basis.

SANTO products are exported to Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Mongolia. At the same time, the Company’s production lines comply with international GMP standards. Are there plans to expand exports not only to nearby countries, but also to Europe?

Yes, that’s right, SANTO medicines are exported to neighboring countries, the Russian market has significant potential, despite high competition. Our medicines are involved in purchases, we see the interest of Russian partners. Moreover, at this time we are considering expansion of export borders to the West, which requires us to have certain qualifications, including the GMP certification of the European Union. SANTO production sites will undergo the Eurasian GMP certification without fail, as these are the requirements of the regulation of the EAEU Single Pharmaceutical Market, and, at the same time, we are voluntarily preparing to undergo European GMP certification in order to be able to enter the European market. To achieve these goals, the company invests heavily in strengthening our infrastructure and processes.

Also, an equally important area for investment today is the R&D Сentre of the Сompany. And, although the development of such a center is not a requirement for passing GMP certification, this decision is our strategic maneuver for building research potential with a qualitative competitive advantage in the market where we strive to maintain a leading position.

Could you tell us about the specialists of your R&D Сentre?

The team working in our laboratories is composed of Kazakhstani specialists who regularly improve their own qualifications in the Polpharma Group and implement joint projects. And we do not see our centre as something separate. We are all part of one global pharmaceutical group with significant development potential in the form of our highly qualified workforce.

At the beginning of 2021, SANTO Company opened a representative office in Uzbekistan. Please tell us how the company managed to implement this project in the context of the pandemic?

The opening of this representative office was our strategic task, because the Uzbekistan market provides great opportunities for expanding the export of our products.

Of course, the pandemic made its own adjustments, but it was the current situation that served as a kind of impetus for the processes that made it possible to implement our ambitious plans. And by the end of 2021, we plan to practically double our supplies to the Uzbekistan market, which will allow us to enter the list of significant pharmaceutical suppliers. We are confident the experience we have gained in the Kazakhstan market and in the EAEU markets, plus a wide portfolio of medicines for the treatment of chronic and acute diseases, and the proven formula of the entire line of our products “quality – efficiency – safety” will allow us to take our place in the pharmaceutical industry of Uzbekistan.

How does the representative office work and what development plans do you have for today?

The representative office in Uzbekistan is not engaged in commercial activities, all commercial operations and supplies are carried out directly from our Central Asian hub, which is located in Shymkent. The representative office has a team that deals with administrative, regulatory issues, pharmacovigilance and medical advice. And the team is all local Uzbek. And the regional office for Central Asia is located in Almaty.

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