Pakistan News

Pharma industry growth halves to 8pc

Pharma industry growth halves to 8pc

KARACHI: The growth of pharmaceutical industry has dropped to around eight per cent per annum from approximately 16 per cent, said Pharma Bureau (PB) Chairman Arshad Saeed Hussain on Thursday.

Talking to newsmen, he said the bureau seeks a predictable and transparent regulatory environment which includes a proper system for registration of drugs and clearing up the ever increasing backlog.

“If one member of PB exits the Pakistani market, it will on average create a gap of $18 million in the medicinal market with 1,000 direct households being affected,” he said.

Executive Director PB Ayesha Tammy Haq said that due to stringent regulatory control, particularly in price control, companies are leaving Pakistan.

“Currently 24 multinational companies (MNCs) are operating as compared to 36 some 10 years ago,” she added.

The latest company to exit Pakistan was Johnson & Johnson. “Their sutures manufacturing facility has been shut down and the product is now imported from Dubai at a higher price. The result is loss of investment, precious jobs and increase of the import bill,” said Ms Haq.

She urged the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) to review and deal with some 1,300 or so pending cases on an urgent basis to ensure that important life-saving drugs are made viable and available to patients.

Ms Haq said that in the past seven years, MNCs’ investment in upgradation of facilities to maintain current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) standards is in excess of $0.5 billion. “This too is declining. At present each MNC with a manufacturing facility invests roughly $3.2m per annum towards maintaining cGMP,” she said.

She said price reduction would only encourage low quality manufactures, and an archaic pricing policy would eventually have a negative impact on many patient care programmes being run by the pharmaceutical companies.

“Eight MNCs alone have 72 drugs which are part of the essential drugs list which are at a risk of closure. Most of these drugs are market leaders in their categories, some commanding over 90pc market share,” she said.

MNCs contributed $1.1 billion in terms of revenues in 2014 and tax of over $160m (equivalent to Rs16bn) besides introducing innovative molecules and breakthrough therapies, particularly for non-communicable diseases like cancer and renal failure, the PB representative said.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2015

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