FRENCH biopharmaceutical group Pharnext is studying the potential for the construction of a herbal medicine factory in Cambodia, as part of a joint venture with local firm Mede Khmer.
Herbal remedies to counter high blood pressure, diabetes and skin conditions are on the cards, according to Moung Sothy, general manager of Mede Khmer.
The companies are now studying the varieties of local plants available and theirsustainability.
“The first step is to select the herbs ... maybe one year later we can set up a factory in Cambodia. I believe that it is not long everything will take shape,” he said.
Investment, he said, could reach from US$40 million to $60 million, he added.
“In the past Khmer traditional doctors used physalis subglabrata to cure high blood pressure – but they were not experienced in the terms of science to make sure that whether those kinds of herbs are successfully used.
“We will test scientifically to make sure that those kinds of herbs are effective. We have big labs in China, France and the United States,” Moung Sothy said.
Mom Bun Heng, Minister of Health, said he did not know about the investment plans but welcomed the move.
“Despite the advanced technology, we cannot give up traditional herbs. In the developed countries traditional herbs are still used. Those kinds of traditional herbs are the root of scientific medicines,” he said.
“I don’t know whether this investment will be successful, but the research conducted every day is a useful job for Cambodia,” added Ung Sok Lean, who is deputy director of National Centre for Khmer traditional medicines, an organisation which has been researching herbs with Pharnext Group.
“If they can set up a pharmaceutical factory in Cambodia, the company will distribute those medicines to impoverished people.”