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Serbian drug plants say waste may delay investment

Serbian drug plants say waste may delay investment
BELGRADE - Serbian drug producers said yesterday the unresolved problem of pharmaceutical waste stored at plants\' compounds could hamper potential foreign investments and urged authorities to define a waste management strategy. Nikola Lukac, the quality control manager of drug producer HEMOFARM, said waste was a growing problem following Serbia\'s return to the European market, which has strictly regulated environmental demands. \"Serbia has no central storage location or facility for waste destruction, but we are obliged by law to adequately store the waste,\" he told Reuters, saying the company had stored eight tonnes of waste at its compound over the past five years. \"This costs us a lot, and could cost us even more if foreign investors condition their loans on the disposal of the stored waste,\" he said. Officials say there are 150 tonnes of pharmaceutical waste stored at the factory compounds in Serbia, but industrial experts estimate there is at least twice as much. Valentina Marinkovic of another drug producer Zdravlje Leskovac said her company was slated to be sold by tender but the waste issue could put off potential partners from abroad. \"The waste problem will delay privatisation and foreign loans not only to drug plants, but to other firms needing money to revive idle capacities. But many are still not aware of that,\" she said. Andjelka Mihajlov, the head of Serbia\'s environmental department, said the adoption of a waste management strategy was among the state\'s priorities and was planned for 2002. She said a few international agencies had offered to donate a facility for waste destruction. But she said they had linked the offer to Serbia taking in waste from other countries and this was not acceptable to Belgrade. Mihajlov suggested Serbia could equip its cement plants to burn the waste, a model used in industrialised countries. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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