Dr. Win Sithu, the chairman of Myanmar Pharmaceutical and Medical Equipment Entrepreneurs Association, said that Burma imported medicine worth a total of US $89 million from three neighboring countries in the year from July 2011to 2012.
India was the largest exporter of medicine to the country, with Thailand second and China third.
India may be the largest exporter of medicine to Burma because of the short flight time and high quality of medical drugs the country offers, said Win Sithu.
An official from Aung Capacity Co, a major Burmese medicine importer, said, “Burma mostly imports medicines from India because the country has both small-scale and multinational Western medicine retailers. Indian traders successfully captured the medicinal drug market in Burma long ago.”
Speaking on the import of medicines from Thailand, medical distributor Hla Thaung said, “In addition to importing medicines via the international flight routes from Thailand, medicinal drugs are also imported across the border illegally. To date we have seen non-registered [illegal] medicines being sold in Myawaddy, Myeik and Dawei [Tavoy].”
More than 100 varieties of medicines are imported to Burma, according to Win Sithu, adding that the market is more open now that tax has been lowered on widely used drugs such as Paracetamol, Burmeton and Amoxicillin.