Today, 9 March, “Health. Security. Pharmacy”, the first major conference devoted to the importance of healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry to the national economy, is taking place with the participation of leading decision-makers and experts. During the conference’s opening ceremony, European Commission Executive Vice-President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis stressed that the conference is being held at an important time, with industry experts joining policy-makers in seeking solutions to the industry’s problems, as well as future opportunities to invest in the development of innovative medicines.

In his address to conference participants, the commissioner reminded them that the Latvian healthcare sector has high added value built on knowledge. Pharmacy is one of the rare industries in which Latvia has succeeded in securing powerful positions within the Baltics, moreover with dominant national capital. At the same time, the industry’s future growth is dependent on today’s investments and innovations.

““Olainfarm’s 50th anniversary has come at a difficult time – following on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic and during the war started by Russia in Ukraine. Russia is responsible for disrupting supply chains and manipulating the energy market, which also affects the pharmaceutical industry. During this period, it is not easy to secure investments for this region as national funding priorities have changed in favour of aspects of security. Therefore, it is especially gratifying that the company has been able to mobilize funds for investments – both securing its own funds, as well as funding from European Union funds and the European Economic Recovery and Resilience Facility. It is vital for Latvian businesses to secure a foothold in EU markets and to contribute towards improving the robustness of Latvia’s economy so that the pharmaceutical industry increases the country’s readiness in the face of potential threats and crisis situations,” said Valdis Dombrovskis.

In her address, Minister for Health Līga Meņģelsone pointed to the need for close cooperation: “Striving for excellence, negotiating developmental paths and overcoming obstacles, it is vital to stop and look around. I am convinced that during the course of the conversations and discussions taking place today, new collaborations, ideas and project will be born.”

“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 in the hope that we can find answers to important questions,” said AS Olainfarm Chairman of the Board Juris Bundulis.

Among the conference participants will be 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, Ministry of Defence’s State Secretary Jānis Garisons, European Chemical Industry Council Fine Organic Synthesis, Fine Chemicals, Biocides and Resins Clusters Director Maggie Saykali. Also in attendance will be Ombudsman Juris Jansons, as well as 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, pharmaceutical industry representatives: AS Olainfarm Chairman of the Board Juris Bundulis and Repharm Board Member Jānis Vanags. At the conference, the realm of science will be 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 will include 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.