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Cambodia’s pioneer drug-maker PPM eyes domestic expansion and increase in exports

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PPM now prides itself as one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Cambodia after 60 years in the business. Photo supplied

Cambodia’s pioneer drug-maker PPM eyes domestic expansion and increase in exports

After six decades of building a strong brand reputation in the pharmaceutical business, Pharma Product Manufacturing Co., LTd. (PPM) plans to increase its domestic market share and widen its exports to new countries.

PPM, which established its name in Cambodia with the production of Kinal, the nation’s first paracetamol tablet in 1960, currently exports from painkillers to health supplements to mostly French-speaking African states, Southeast Asia and Europe.

Kinal was the first Cambodian produced medicine by pharmacist Dr Kok Sokhim.

“At the moment, our local market sales are about five per cent and we want to increase the numbers. We want our local products to be more popular. Demand for medicines will continue to increase in Cambodia.

“It will be good to have over 10 per cent domestic market share. Pharmaceutical manufacturers not only create jobs and contribute to local economy, but also help in the development of human resources,” said PPM CEO Hay Ly Eang.

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Eang wants to turn Cambodia’s pharmaceutical sector into a dynamic industry. Photo supplied

According to industry observers, Cambodia imports at least 90 per cent of its medicines worth nearly $300 million annually.

The private sector imports about $200 million worth of drugs per year, while the government spends $100 million on medicine imports annually.

Most of the imports come from drug manufacturers such as – France, India, Russia, China, Vietnam and Thailand.

Besides Kinal, the drug-maker has also developed a wide range of products - vitamins, nutritions and antibiotics that are now sold across the nation.

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Kinal is PPM’s top selling drug, especially in African markets. Photo supplied

“After 60 years, we are standing firm and our sales are progressing. We have aslo increased our products to meet the market demands. We continue to strengthen our development as well as expanding our markets.

“Kinal is not only successful locally, but recognised internationally. In fact, Kinal is one of the best-selling medicines among our export products, especially in Africa,” he added.

With 400 employees the company produces about 50 different medicines.

PPM’s other unit, Confirel Co., Ltd. has embarked in developing a range of health supplements, largely using organic palm sugar and pepper grown in rural Cambodia.

One of its much-sought after product is KEM Probiotics, a dietary complement produced from fermented juice of morinda citrifolia and exported to markets worldwide.

“We export over 90 per cent of KEM and 95 per cent of health products like supplements are also exported,” added Eang, who is also the founder of Confirel.

KEM can be used to treat stomach ulcers, it is an anti-bacterial agent and a powerful antioxidant.

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Say Chhum, president of the Senate, visits a booth during PPM’s 60th anniversary celebration on December 18, 2019. Photo supplied

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