LAHORE: Johnson & Johnson Pakistan (Pvt) Limited has decided to wrap up its operations in Pakistan, according to industry sources. However, the company has refused to comment on the issue as yet.
The American pharmaceutical giant listed on the New York Stock Exchange is the fifth pharmaceutical multinational to decide to end the operations of its subsidiary in Pakistan in the past few years.
A pharmaceutical company executive described the move as “a real challenge for the new PML-N government.”
Other pharmaceuticals multinationals who have ended their operations in Pakistan include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited (MSD), Searle Pharmaceuticals, and Organon.
The reason is Pakistan’s poor economic conditions and absence of a functional regulatory setup.
The pharmaceutical company executive, who requested anonymity, said the closures would be a particular challenge for Nawaz Sharif. His Pakistan Muslim League (N) projects itself as an “industry friendly” party which seeks to attract foreign investors in different sectors of Pakistani industry.
According to industry sources, Johnson & Johnson is looking to sell Janssen, its pharmaceutical business, in Pakistan.
This includes all Janssen brands being produced at its manufacturing facility in Karachi’s Korangi industrial area.
In the opinion of the executive, Janssen is quitting because “with a limited portfolio they are finding it increasingly difficult to sustain local manufacturing operations in the face of stifling pricing controls and an adverse regulatory environment.”
Johnson & Johnson has already invited bids, and the process for disposing of the medicine segment has been initiated, with four or five interested parties taking part in the process, the sources said.
Its main pharmaceutical products in Pakistan are gastro-intestinal (Motilium and Imodium), cough syrups (Benadryl) and anti-fungals (Daktarin and Gyno-Daktarin).
The company’s area of business also includes fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and medical devices and diagnostics.
The source also said since the disposal of Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical segment will be treated as local assets sale, the company will retain its legal entity in Pakistan and continue with its FMCG and medical devices and diagnostics business.
During the company’s fiscal year ended January 1, 2012, its subsidiaries operated 139 manufacturing facilities worldwide.
Johnson & Johnson’s FMCG, medical devices (including sutures) and diagnostics products are all manufactured overseas, and therefore eits role in Pakistan will in future be limited to that of a distributor. Johnson & Johnson, a global holding company, is engaged in research and development and manufacturing of a range of products in the healthcare field.
It operates in three segments: consumer, pharmaceutical and medical devices, and diagnostics.