“Health. Security. Pharmacy”, the first major conference in Latvia devoted to the importance of healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry to the national economy, took place on 9 March with the participation of leading decision-makers and experts. At this conference marking AS Olainfarm’s 50th anniversary, it was concluded that healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry can contribute to the national economy and security through investments in human capital and health, and that the readiness of the healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry at X hour is a prerequisite for economic stability.

“Compared with the situation globally, the advantages of the Latvian pharmaceutical industry lie in its outstanding scientific base, strong traditions and priceless innovations. Right now, in Latvia, we already provide a full developmental and supply chain for medicines, incorporating high level education, research and innovations, industrial production and exports, local and regional supply and pharmaceutical care. We have the capability to develop original medicines. However, this requires much more synergy between the medical community and the public, education, science, producers and decision-makers. The availability of medicines has become an issue not only of public health, but also of national security. Therefore, we have invited all the relevant parties to convene at this conference, and I am gratified that we succeeded in initiating such a comprehensive discussion on matters of vital importance to the industry and the national economy,” said AS Olainfarm Chairman of the Board Juris Bundulis.

Pharmacy proved itself to be a fundamental industry during Covid-19, when one virus was able to paralyse the whole world, freeze the economy, and bring trade and to a standstill. Now too, in the shadow of war, the availability of medicines is vitally important.

Among the conference participants were the Minister for Health Līga Meņģelsone, European Commission Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, the Republic of Latvia’s Minister for Economics Ilze Indriksone, Minister for Education and Science Anda Čakša, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) senior fellow, Foreign Policy and POLITICO Europe journalist and author of several books Elisabeth Braw, the Ministry of Defence’s State Secretary Jānis Garisons and European Chemical Industry Council Fine Organic Synthesis, Fine Chemicals, Biocides and Resins Clusters Director Maggie Saykali. Also present were Ombudsman Juris Jansons along with health sector experts including Latvian Medical Association President Ilze Aizsilniece, Vice-President of the Association of Rural Family Doctors, family doctor Ainis Dzalbs, Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital Institute of Science Director, University of Latvia Vascular Surgery Professor and LAS academic Dainis Krieviņš, Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Infectious Disease Risk Analysis and Prevention Department Director Jurijs Perevoščikovs, National Health Service Director Āris Kasparāns, Children’s Clinical University Hospital Chairman of the Board Valts Ābols, and pharmaceutical industry representatives: AS Olainfarm Chairman of the Board Juris Bundulis and Repharm Board Member Jānis Vanags. At the conference, the realm of science was represented by Latvian Academy of Sciences’ President Ivars Kalviņš and Institute of Organic Synthesis Director Osvalds Pugovičs. Speakers on the subjects of economics and  exports included SEB Bank Economist Dainis Gašpuitis, Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Aigars Rostovskis, Employers’ Confederation of Latvia President Andris Bite, Altum Chairman of the Board Reinis Bērziņš, Deputy Director in Charge of Exports, Investment and Development Agency of Latvia Iveta Strupkāja, Baltic Institute of Corporate Governance CEO Andris Grafs, and Stockholm School of Economics in Riga Professor and Centre for Sustainable Business Director Arnis Sauka.