At the start of June, Minister for Health Līga Meņģelsone made a working visit to one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the Baltics, AS Olainfarm to discuss current healthcare issues related to healthcare funding, the availability of medicines, as well as the role of clinical pharmacists in the healthcare system and matters involving patient experience. During her visit, the Minister for Health was also introduced to the company’s operations, development targets and investment projects aimed at ensuring that the company becomes one of the TOP 10 pharmaceutical companies in Europe in its product categories during the next five years.

I highly appreciate Olainfarm’s contribution to the economy, science and promotion of public health. It is our joint task to configure and develop the Latvian healthcare system so that it can provide quality services at all stages. Parallel to improvement in the availability of out-patient services, consolidation of the system of family doctors and development of the hospital network, it is extremely important to raise the prestige of the pharmaceutical profession within society and to highlight its importance to healthcare, because, with their knowledge and skills, these specialists often serve as the first point of support and advice for patients. Here, I see great potential for collaboration with pharmaceutical companies – both in generating interest [among potential chemists and pharmacists] to seek knowledge in the pharmaceutical realm, and in supporting students, who have chosen this professional path,” emphasised Minister for Health Līga Meņģelsone during the meeting.

During her working visit, Līga Meņģelsone met AS Olainfarm’s management and specialists to discuss current issues in Latvia’s healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, and visited AS Olainfarm’s production plant where she was introduced to medicinal product manufacturing, quality control and research& development processes. The Minister for Health was fulsome in her praise of AS Olainfarm’s contribution to the healthcare system as a whole, as well as the economy.

Latvia is the only Baltic state that can boast such strong pharmaceutical traditions and a well-developed industry. In Latvia, we provide a full medicinal product research, development, growth and supply chain. Thanks to our shareholders, Olainfarm has embarked on a path of fast track development, allocating sizable investments to research and development, our product offering, as well as to the expansion of our export market so that the Latvian pharmaceutical industry can consolidate its place within the European and global market. At the same time, our attention is focused on overall public health and the optimal functioning of the healthcare system, where an important prerequisite is close collaboration between various industry stakeholders and the public sector, always mindful that people and their health and needs are the centre of attention,” commented AS Olainfarm Chairman of the Board Juris Bundulis.

AS Olainfarm’s product portfolio consists of 60 finished dosage forms, 25 active pharmaceutical substances and more than 20 intermediate products, including medicines to improve the functioning of the central nervous system, products for treatment of gastroenterological illnesses, as well as anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-allergic agents. The product portfolio is being continually augmented with new products. Currently, the company has approximately 50 finished dosage forms under development, while the medicinal product registration process is taking place in at least 10 new markets.

AS Olainfarm is actively working on the registration of new products in European markets, to which end the parties discussed necessary improvements to cooperation mechanisms so that the process of registering medicines is made smoother and more efficient for Latvian manufacturers. They also discussed the need to include specific mechanisms and instruments in the State Civil Defence Plan in relation to the formation and maintenance of the State’s medicinal product stocks, in order to ensure that patients have access to medicines in situations in which regular supplies could be disrupted.

During the meeting, the parties also discussed the important role played by pharmacists in ensuring the proper functioning of the healthcare system, and the need to support the process of educating budding pharmacists, joining forces to raise the prestige and value held by the profession in the minds of the public, because pharmacists are often the first point of contact for patients. The discussion also highlighted issues related to the availability of personnel and qualified specialists, along with the education system’s ability to respond and prepare the specialists required by the market. In order to generate interest in chemistry among schoolchildren, during the next five years AS Olainfarm will invest EUR 75,000 to support chemistry teachers by awarding them special scholarships. Likewise, for the past 13 years, in cooperation with the RSU Graduates’ Association, AS Olainfarm has awarded scholarships to pharmaceutical students, as well as collaborating with other educational institutions, in order to encourage and support chemistry learning and interest in the subject. The company is also making considerable investments in automation and production modernisation.