Pharma industry suffers amid import restrictions

January 24, 2023

Mansoor Sadiq

Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) says 25% of pharmaceutical companies have closed operations in the country following the unavailability of imported raw materials, while the rest of companies are left with a stock of just two weeks to manufacture life-saving drugs.

The PPMA office bearers at a media briefing called upon the government to take steps on emergency basis to ensure the availability of imported raw materials for pharmaceutical sector to avert a possible shortage of life-saving drugs in the coming days.

Syed Farooq Bukhari, Central Chairman of the PPMA, along with other representatives of his association, said the pharmaceutical companies have run out of resources necessary for the local production of life-saving drugs, and banks are reluctant to issue letters of credit (LCs) for imports due to shortage of dollars and restrictions by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

He said the import of raw materials and medical equipment was hampered following the import restrictions. He said approximately 770 drug manufacturers in the country are facing a serious crisis because they need raw materials for the production of 90% of drugs required by the patients in the country.

Farooq warned that if the crisis continued any further, the drug industry would be left with no choice but to resort to downsizing and many people would lose their jobs. He said the imports of essential surgical and medical equipment had also been halted due to the prevailing economic crisis causing problems in the treatment of critically-ill patients.

The PPMA chairman urged the government to make sure that ample foreign exchange remains available to ensure uninterrupted import of essential pharma raw materials and surgical equipment. The PPMA Secretary General Nadeem Zafar told WealthPK that the pharma sector has been fulfilling 95% demand required in the country despite price regulations in the recent past on part of the government. He said Pakistan’s pharma industry relies on imported raw materials for manufacturing drugs, but import restrictions have halted production of this crucial sector.

Nadeem pointed out that contrary to other industries and manufacturing sectors, pharmaceutical industry is of core importance and the government has to take urgent steps to ensure availability of imported raw materials as this is a serious matter related to public health.

Credit : Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk