"We have been asked to transfer our competence in vaccine production to Saudi Arabia. This means that the Indonesia`s vaccines are trusted," Roestan stated on the sidelines of the First Meeting of the Heads of National Medicines Regulatory Authorities (NMRAs) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held here on Wednesday.
According to him, Bio Farma`s capacity to produce vaccines and other biotech products is excellence, and therefore, it is demanded by Middle East countries.
The Saudi authority has now signed a cooperation related to the transfer of vaccine technology. In addition to Saudi, Roestan pointed out that other Islamic countries are also exploring the transfers of knowledge are Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, Turkey and North African countries.
"The exploration has been carrying out since the past few years. In producing and establishing a drug manufactory, feasibility definitely is a must. It cannot be done instantly," he stated.
He welcomed the intention of a number of countries to transfer Indonesia`s technology. He added that if the OIC countries have the same capacity in vaccine production, then the health sector in these countries will be improving.
He noted that there are 57 OIC member countries, and only few of them could produce vaccines and drugs independently. As a result, the OIC members, some of which are developing and disadvantaged countries, have to spend a large amount of money on pharmaceutical products. In fact, the country needs funds to build other sectors.
At least, there are 100 vaccine industries in the world, of which 30 of them have been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). Indonesia`s vaccine industry is one of the 30 that has been recognized by the WHO, Roestan pointed out.
"The recognition is not only about the standard of the product but also the pharmaceutical supervision," he remarked, adding that there are seven OIC countries that have vaccine factories, of which two of them are recognized by the WHO, namely Senegal and Indonesia.
However, Senegal only produces yellow fever vaccines for West Africa and Central Africa. Meanwhile, Indonesia exports 12 types of vaccines to 49 Muslim countries. In total there are 141 destination countries for Indonesia`s vaccine products, Roestan noted.
This indicates that vaccine technology has not been evenly distributed among the OIC countries. Therefore, Indonesia`s leadership is expected to equalize the distribution of vaccine production capabilities among the member countries.
Roestan affirmed that Bio Farma is ready to assist the OIC countries to be independent in vaccine production.
Reporting by Anom Prihantoro, Libertina W Ambari
Editing by Yoseph Haryadi