PPMA demands task force to hike drugs’ export

KARACHI: With aim to increase annual exports of medicines of the country to $5 billion in 10 years, Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) on Thursday demanded of the government to constitute a task force for the purpose under chairmanship of prime minister.

The demand was made at a seminar organized by PPMA here at a local hotel titled: “Pharmaceutical export, the next frontier” attended by representatives of the pharma industry, chief executives of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), secretary of Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination, and other concerned stakeholders.

The participants were informed that PPMA had adopted a “Vision-2025” for national pharmaceutical industry under which it envisioned to increase the current meagre $200 million exports of Pakistani medicines to $05 billion in 10 years.

The task force proposed for the purpose would comprise representatives of TDAP, DRAP, and PPMA as it should hold its meetings after every three months for reviewing situation of promotion of exports of medicines from Pakistan.

Under the same vision, PPMA plans to establish at least 10 FDA (US Food and Drug Administration)-accredited medicines’ manufacturing units in Pakistan whose produce could be exported anywhere in the world.

Under the same regime, the PPMA wants launching of one-window operations in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad, where under one roof officials of TDAP, DRAP, and other authorities concerned would issue all documents required for medicines’ export.

The association also wants resolution of all undue problems in issuance of documents required by pharma manufacturers for exports of their produce. It also demands that period of one-year required for getting registrations for medicines’ exports should also be reduced to facilitate Pakistan’s pharma companies.

Participants were informed that India at present had an international medicines’ export market of 15 billion US dollars with medicines from the neighbouring country going to every developed country having stringently regulated pharmaceutical sector be they Japan, the USA, the UK, Australia, other European countries .

On the other hand, Pakistanis medicines due to lack of mandatory international certifications at present could only be exported to under-developed countries having semi-regulated pharmaceutical markets mainly in Central Asian, African, Far Eastern, and South American regions.

For purpose of raising a medicines’ manufacturing unit having international certifications and standards, a heavy investment of 30 million dollars is required, which could not be made by any of pharmaceutical manufacturers in Pakistan due to their limited resources.

The PPMA demands a feasible export regime for Pakistani Pharma industry on the lines of India where Pharmaceutical development fund was established under the export council for provision of loans to drug manufacturing units for 10 years on highly subsidized rates.

Chairman of PPMA Saeed Allahwalah made a presentation on a comparative study of situation and statistics of medicines’ exports in Pakistan and India.

Dr Kaiser Waheed said that Pakistan’s own Pharma industry had been fulfilling up to 65 percent needs of local medicines’ market while the industry had vast potential of exports given provision of support and facilitation from govt.

He said Pakistan produces medicines with costs cheaper than that it in India so the Pharma industry needed support from export development funds of the country.

Secretary of Ministry of National Health Services Mohammad Ayub Sheikh said the DRAP and his ministry should make joint efforts for development of pharma industry and in this regard no negligence, corruption, or non-cooperation would be tolerated on the part of any relevant authority.

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