KARACHI: A score of foreign pharmaceutical companies are weighing an exit from Pakistan as they remain perplexed over the lack of policy implementation from the government, a top industry’s...
KARACHI: A score of foreign pharmaceutical companies are weighing an exit from Pakistan as they remain perplexed over the lack of policy implementation from the government, a top industry’s official said.
Ayesha Tammy Haq, executive director of Pharma Bureau said several foreign pharma companies are considering disinvestment and have approached the bureau, the industry’s representative body, to discuss exit from Pakistan.
“We are meeting with the newly-appointed health adviser on Thursday, and we would ask him to ensure a consistent pharma policy with prime focus on consistent pricing policy,” Haq said. “If a consistent policy is provided, companies can set up FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved plants, which would give a boost to country’s pharmaceutical exports.”
There were 40 foreign pharmaceutical companies operating in Pakistan in the recent past and out of which 16 have already left the country in past few years, she said.
“Since the chief executive officers of these companies are Pakistanis they are trying to convince the principals abroad to stay here,” she added.
In Pakistan, There are more than 750 registered pharmaceutical companies, of which 25 are multinationals which account for 44.3 percent of the market in value and 44.7 percent of the market in volume.
The top 100 companies including the local companies constitute 97 percent market share while the remaining 650 plus just 3 percent.
“We have the capacity and human resource, all we need is a well implemented consistent policy,” Haq said.
The Pharma Bureau’s director said a drug pricing policy was formulated in 2018 on the instructions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
“The policy was very good and finalised with the consent of all stakeholders,” she said. “The policy is now being rolled back, which sends a bad message to foreign investors who are considering disinvestment.”
Haq said the COVID-19 caused a six percent contraction in the overall pharmaceutical industry. The regulatory environment for the pharmaceutical industry needs to be aligned with global industry trends if the industry is to develop and survive in an exceedingly competitive environment.
“Intellectual property rights violations are a serious threat to research based pharmaceutical companies and have resulted in the widespread production and distribution of counterfeit and sub-standard drugs,” she said. “The government needs to develop a comprehensive health care plan by taking input from all stakeholders including the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies, payers and patients, with particular focus on increasing spending on healthcare.”
Haq said government and the industry should work together in a supportive and collaborative environment towards improving access to healthcare in the country.