Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Production and Role of Pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan’s economy

Pakistan has a developing and a vibrant Pharma Industry. At the time of independence, in 1947, there was hardly any pharmacy industry in Pakistan and the country was suffering in this regard to a greater extent. Today Pakistan has about 400 pharmaceutical manufacturing units, which also include those operated by 25 multinationals that are present in the country. Around 70% of the country's demand of Finished Medicine is met by The Pakistan Pharmaceutical Industry. In terms of share market, the domestic pharmacy market is almost evenly divided between the Nationals and the Multinationals.

The National pharmacy industry has shown a growing progress over the years, mostly in the last decade. The industry has invested significantly to improve itself in the last few years and in the recent times the majority of the industry is following Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), compliant with the domestic as well as international Guidance. At present the industry has the capacity to produce a variety of product that range from simple pills to sophisticated Biotech, Oncology and Value Added Generic compounds.

According to the researches, although Pakistan’s pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors are expanding and evolving speedily, about half of the population has no access to the modern medicines. Clearly this presents an opportunity, but the government and industry's stakeholders are required to put more efforts. The value of pharmaceuticals that was sold in 2007 exceeded US$1.4bn, which equates to per capita consumption of less than US$ 10 per year and value of medicines sold is now expected to exceed US$2.3 B by the year 2012.

The Pharmaceutical market of Pakistan is estimated at over $1.5 Billion in value and bulk imports of raw materials are close to $450 million. The utility rates and other aspects of production have been experiencing a stable enhancement over the last couple of years. Prices of drugs have not increased over the last 7 years, most recently with China revoking its export subsidy by 8%; prices of raw materials are expected to shoot up further. Machinery and equipment is imported from China, Taiwan, Korea, India, Germany, UK, USA and Japan most of the time.
According to an expert, the regulation of price has given rise to the false belief that pharmaceutical companies are overpricing with reference to their products. Besides that, surging inflation and the deteriorating economic condition of the country has considerably affected company margins.

There is the need of a properly defined policy in this regard, as price fixing remains is in the control of the ministry. It is necessary for the pricing policy to work in automatic ways, keeping in view the interests of both patients and pharmacists. In addition, price control can help increase investment.

It was being informed that the production of drugs takes place under strict CGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice) principles, while a variety of dosage forms including liquids, tablets, capsules, dry syrups, creams and ointments, sterile ampoules, vials, metered dose inhalers can be produced. However, some companies’ products’ production for multinational companies is found to be worth Rs 1.0 billion.

The reputable companies are not involved in the smuggling of drugs while multinational companies refrain from such a thing as well. The doctors are responsible to support the interests of the patient, but unfortunately unethical and immoral practices seem to prevail in the community. Companies should identify their responsibility and, hence, should focus at maintaining excellence on reasonable prices, while marketing should also be patient-intensive.

It was being found that a meager seven percent claim of manufacturing is being satisfied on local basis as resources are not available in Pakistan. This is because of a lack found in petrochemical industry, which makes preliminary steps essential for our local industry. Certain companies have started such a thing, but it is disappointing that no basic research for making new drugs (molecular) is processed in the country. The quality standards of the ministry are not same for all, adding that role of the doctor could be limited through this access if it satisfies the patient to buy the same product on lower rates.
The ministry should keep an eye on Chinese drugs which are coming in Pakistan and should allow only those Chinese firms that are genuine. The pharmaceutical industry hires well qualified people; therefore, grey channel input is in the loss of the patient.

As for the budgetary changes, sustained increase in exports has been seen; therefore, duties should be revised on importing machines. In order to de-register the products, the Ministry of Health should play its dynamic role.
Pakistan is a developing pharmaceutical market, holds a large population and economic progress evident.However, and per capita drug spending was observed to be rather low at around US$9.30 in the year 2007. Classified spending accounts for 65% of total healthcare expenditure sourced through out-of pocket payments, international aid and religious or charitable institutions. Pharmaceutical spending accounts for less than 1% of the country's GDP, equivalent to levels in some neighboring countries but above that in some of the South Asian countries. The forecast period is probable to witness the marginal strengthening of the generics sector, albeit more in terms of volumes than values. The share of generics is also seems to increase further as major drugs come off-patent in the near term, to the likely benefit of the generics-dominated local industry.

With an export turnover of over US$ 100 Million as of 2007, the Pakistan pharmacy industry is relatively young in the international markets. Pakistan Pharma business boasts of quality producers and many units are approved by regulatory authorities around the world. Like domestic market where in the last five years, the sales in international market have gone almost double. The pharmacy industry is making efforts to an Export Vision of USD 500 Million by 2013. In the meantime, exports are also expected to be boosted by new regional and global opportunities.
Above all, the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Industry holds a successful developing business, providing high quality essential drugs at affordable prices to Millions. Technologically, well-built and self reliant National Pharmaceutical Industry is not only playing a specific role in promoting and sustaining growth in the vital field of medicine within the country, but is also set in a good manner to take on the international markets.

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