‘Jamu’ to protective gear: Producers of most-wanted products facing business disruption

first_imgFurthermore, GP Farmasi executive director Dorodjatun Sanusi said that the rising demand and the depreciating rupiah against the United States dollar had also added to the cost calculations.Dorodjatun warned about the potential problems if pharmaceutical product prices remained at the current level.“[We] may be able to produce and distribute, but [we] will not be able to buy any more materials,” Dorodjatun said as quoted by Tempo.Logistics issues have also affected the operation of member companies of GP Jamu.Read also: ‘Jamu’ groups oppose House’s decision to import ingredients for ‘COVID-19 cure’The businesses have experienced difficulty in shipping products outside of Java, especially to Kalimantan and the eastern part of Indonesia.“It has been almost a month and products have yet to arrive,” GP Jamu chairperson Dwi Ranny Pertiwi Zarman said during the hearing.Jamu companies have also struggled financially. Some 30 percent of companies have laid off workers, Dwi explained.Fortunately for members of GP Jamu, most of the ingredients for their products are locally sourced, easing the process of obtaining the raw materials for production.“Ninety-nine percent of jamu ingredients are locally sourced, not imported. The procurement of raw materials is not an issue,” GP Jamu vice chairperson Thomas Hartono said.He added that the association planned on keeping the prices of their products at an affordable level to help in the fight against COVID-19.Global research firm Mintel notes that that consumers in Indonesia are stocking up on jamu, in pursuit of immunity boosts during the pandemic, despite the lack of clinical tests proving its effectiveness against the pneumonia-like disease.Read also: Market reports paint a bright, post-pandemic future for Indonesian ‘jamu’Meanwhile, the ongoing disruption caused by the epidemic has not deterred the Indonesian Textile Association (API), alongside the Indonesian Fiber and Filament Yarn Producers Association (Apsify), from helping the government in producing personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical workers in Indonesia but businesses are still suffering.API chairperson Jemmy Kartiwa Sastraatmaja said that as of the second week of April, production volume had plunged by 85 percent and factory utilization was down 90 percent. As many as 80 percent of the workers in the textile industry have also been laid off.Topics : Companies producing highly sought-after items such as medicine, herbal drinks and protective gear are struggling to keep up with a surge in demand as production and distribution costs rise amid the COVID-19 pandemic, industry groups have warned.On Monday, Indonesian Pharmaceutical Association (GP Farmasi), Jamu and Traditional Medicines Manufacturers Association (GP Jamu) and Indonesian Textile Association (API) expressed their concerns about the disruption in a meeting with lawmakers.Production costs have risen and logistics have been disrupted for pharmaceutical companies and jamu (traditional herbal medicine) producers. Textile manufacturers are struggling to adapt production lines to meet a surge in demand for protective gear. The problems have caused companies to limit operations and lay off workers to survive the pandemic. “Many airlines are grounded or are not allowed to fly, hence, [our] members fight over flights or vessels. [This leads to] airlines and shipping companies increasing their prices,” GP Farmasi chairperson Tirto Kusnadi told a virtual hearing with House of Representatives Commission VI overseeing trade, industry and state-owned enterprises.“The price of medicine in the market will rise because the price of raw materials that we import and the cost of transportation have soared,” Tirto said. Raw material and distribution costs have so far increased threefold and fivefold, respectively, he added.Read also: Medicine prices could soar 60% on raw material disruptionThe government has pledged to provide additional support for businesses importing medical equipment and medicine needed to handle the pandemic by eliminating import duties. That, and Presidential Instruction No. 6/2016 on the acceleration of pharmaceutical industry development and healthcare tools and equipment have yet to result in any significant change, according to GP Farmasi.last_img read more

Bashar al-Assad ready for coalition but wont trust Islamic state yet

first_imgPresident Al-AssadSyrian President Bashar al-Assad said he was open to the idea of a coalition against Islamic State but indicated there was little chance of it happening with his enemies, casting further doubt on a Russian plan to forge an alliance against the militant group.The initiative proposed by Russia, a vital ally of Assad, would involve the Syrian government joining regional states that have backed Syrian rebels in a shared fight against the Islamic State group that controls wide areas of Syria and Iraq.In an interview broadcast on Tuesday, Assad said the Syrian government would not reject such an alliance, though it made no sense “that states which stood with terrorism would be the states that will fight terrorism”.He was referring to governments including Turkey and Saudi Arabia that have backed insurgent groups fighting to topple him in the brutal four-year-long civil war that has killed an estimated 250,000 people and shattered the country.“A small possibility remains that these states decided to repent, or realised they were moving in the wrong direction, or maybe for reasons of pure self-interest, they got worried that this terrorism is heading towards their countries, and so they decided to combat terrorism,” Assad said.“We have no objection. The important thing is to be able to form an alliance to fight terrorism,” he said in the interview with al-Manar TV, which is controlled by Lebanon’s Hezbollah.Islamic rebelsThe comments echo previous remarks by the Syrian foreign minister, who has said such an alliance would need “a miracle”.Saudi Arabia has ruled out any coalition with Assad. Like the United States, Saudi Arabia wants to see Assad gone from power, blames him for the rise of Islamic State, and says he cannot be a partner in the fight against the group.The United States is leading an alliance in a campaign against the ultra-hardline group in both Syria and Iraq. Russia has said the United States should cooperate with Assad to fight Islamic State.Support from Russia, Iran, and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah has been vital to Assad during the conflict.The conclusion of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers including the United States has been followed by a spate of high-level diplomatic contacts aimed at trying to advance solutions to the Syrian war.Previous diplomacy on Syria has been a complete failure.Diplomats say Iran and Russia are the prime movers behind the latest push.The contacts included a meeting between the Syrian and Omani foreign ministers this month. Oman has quietly brokered resolutions to several disputes in the Middle East.Assad said it was obvious Oman had a role to play in helping to resolve the Syrian crisis.“The meetings now aim to gauge the Syrian view on finding a solution and at the same time they (Oman) are gauging the regional and international climate … to reach something specific,” he said.He added: “It is too early to talk about the role that Oman can play. We must wait for the continuation of this dialogue.”last_img read more

House panel opposes forced use of mail order in Rx benefit plans

first_imgDES MOINES — An Iowa House committee has voted to prohibit companies that manage prescription drug benefit plans from forcing patients to get their medications through the mail.Representative John Forbes of Urbandale, a pharmacist, said he often has to fix the problems when mail order companies fail.“We had one patient have their insulin frozen that was mailed to them by mail order,” Forbes said. “Luckily, they found out it was frozen.”Insulin cannot be used if it’s been frozen. Forbes said a month ago he had a patient bring in $3000 worth of pills they’d been mailed, but no longer needed.“Mail orders say…they’re going to save money,” Forbes said. “…It doesn’t save money. They don’t call all the time and make sure that people really need those meds.”Representative Brian Best, a Republican from Glidden, said he’s seen mail order company abuses, too.“I owned a durable medical supply company and I saw companies that would sell tons of CPAP devices and you’d go to somebody’s closet and their closet was literally full of things they hadn’t used and I think with mail order, that can happen,” Best said.Representative Shannon Lundgren, a Republican from Peosta, said a local pharmacist rather than a mail order company is often the better choice for the patient’s health.“That face-to-face contact is of course extremely important when they’re dealing with extremely high dose or medication changes,” Lundgren said.A representative of the state agency that manages Medicaid told lawmakers the state will likely have to spend more if mail order companies can’t be used for any of the medications prescribed to Medicaid patients.last_img read more