Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Industry Ministry is supporting the development of the Merah Putih vaccine and vaccines made by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) by building collaboration with stakeholders to help the industrial sector contribute to COVID-19 handling.

"The Industry Ministry supports the development of the Merah Putih vaccine and SOEs vaccine, which is currently being developed by the holding company in the pharmaceutical sector, namely PT Bio Farma along with other stakeholders," director general of chemical, pharmaceutical, and textile industries (IKFT) at the Industry Ministry, Muhammad Khayam, said.

On a working visit to Bio Farma with Commission VII of the House of Representatives during the recess of the second session of 2021-2022, Khayam said he is optimistic that domestic pharmaceutical companies can develop vaccines to build vaccine independence in the country.

PT Bio Farma is known to have an excellent track record in producing vaccines and helping Indonesia become one of the 132 vaccine-supplying countries in the world, he noted.

Indonesia is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global vaccine supplier along with India, Belgium, France, and South Korea, he said.

"This achievement cannot be separated from the vaccine products produced by PT Bio Farma," he added.

Bio Farma and molecular biology research institute under the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education, Eijkman, are developing the Merah Putih vaccine, he said.

The ministry is developing recombinant protein-based vaccines, which are currently at the seed vaccine optimization stage, he informed. Meanwhile, Bio Farma and Baylor College of Medicine are collaborating on developing the SOEs vaccine, which is currently entering Phase I clinical trials, he added.

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The Industry Ministry continues to encourage the pharmaceutical industry to support national health development through the development of the chemical and biological-based drug raw material industry, Khayam said.

The ministry is also encouraging the implementation of the Program for Expanding the Utilization of Domestic Products (P3DN) for import substitution, he added.

"It is believed that import substitution efforts will be able to reduce Indonesia's trade balance deficit, especially in the pharmaceutical sector," he explained.

The Industry Ministry has also issued Regulation of the Minister of Industry Number 16 of 2020 concerning Provisions and Procedures for Calculation of Domestic Content Level Value (TKDN) for Pharmaceutical Products in this regard, he noted.

The calculation of TKDN for pharmaceutical products is no longer based on cost, but on the process, he disclosed.

Under the process-based TKDN value calculation for pharmaceutical products, active pharmaceuticals ingredients (API) are given 50 percent weightage, research and development processes 30 percent, production processes 15 percent, and packaging processes 5 percent, the director general said.

"This method is expected to encourage the development of the drug raw material industry, as well as increase research and development of new drugs and contribute to the acceleration of the import reduction program to support drug independence," he added.

Other steps taken by the ministry to support the pharmaceutical industry are prioritizing the development and assistance of Making Indonesia 4.0, proposing better incentive schemes to encourage investment, and preparing industrial areas to support building a better production ecosystem, Khayam informed.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the recess work visit of Commission VII, Sartono Hutomo, lauded the government's efforts to produce COVID-19 vaccines through technology transfer and develop the Merah Putih and SOEs vaccines to curb the spread of COVID-19.

"According to our supervisory function, we propose further discussion and actions at commission meetings in the Indonesian House of Representatives related to Merah Putih and SOEs vaccines with Bio Farma, Eijkman, the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), and the IKFT Directorate General," Hutomo added.

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Translator: Sella P G, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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