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January 1, 2020

TDAP flags stagnation risks as medicine exports fall

Business

January 1, 2020

KARACHI: Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) has called for identification of new markets for the country’s pharmaceutical products as exports to traditional destinations are consistently declining.

State-owned TDAP urged the industry to identify newer regions to do business and advised the government to set up exhibition stalls in potential markets. Consistent lack of exploring new markets by pharmaceutical exporters, over the past few years, indicates the trend towards stagnation.

“Their (exports) inability to penetrate new markets needs to be addressed,” TDAP said in a report. “The top buyers are consistently Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Vietnam. The same buyers, year after year, are indicative of a concentration risk. New markets need to be explored.”

Over the past three years, the top markets for Pakistan have not varied much. Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Vietnam, Lithuania and South Sudan have been the biggest markets for Pakistani pharmaceuticals.

However, market share of Pakistani medicines in Afghanistan has been on the downward trend for the past three years, falling to $65 million in 2018 from $75 million in 2016 due to loss of market share to India. Similarly, market share in Vietnam declined to 0.4 percent in 2018 from 1.0 percent in 2016 due to increasing presence of Indian products.

Pakistani medicine exports to Sri Lanka were $20 million, representing a five percent market share. The Philippines was the third largest customer of Pakistan with $18 million imports. However, the market share in the south East Asian economy was extremely small at 1.2 percent due to the large amount of medicine imports worth $1.3 billion.

“Since the sale of pharmaceutical depends on ageing population and rising income levels, Pakistan should look to target countries where such circumstances are conducive to increase pharma exports,” TDAP said.

The authority said Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) should strive to acquire membership of pharmaceutical inspection cooperating scheme (PIC/S).

“This will help assuage concerns of buyers regarding good manufacturing practices of Pakistan,” it added. “PIC/S membership will certify Pakistan is following GMP which will lead to increase in exports. Inspections by PIC/S members will also help uplift the Pakistani pharmaceutical industry.”

TDAP further said DRAP should also have World Health Organization-qualified quality control laboratories in all four provinces and at the federal level. Export Development Fund should be used to develop dedicated research centre for pharma industry, it said.

Medicine exports from Pakistan amounted to $195 million in 2018. The majority of pharmaceutical exports go to Africa, Central Asia and South Asian markets. Highly regulated markets such as USA, Europe, Japan and Australia have been less penetrated by Pakistani pharmaceutical firms

due to a fact that they do not meet the stringent compliance requirements of Federal Drug Authority regulations. Herbal medicines of Pakistan have been able to penetrate these markets more effectively than allopathic drugs. Pakistan’s pharmaceutical export ranks 49th in terms of volume and 16th in value with a global share of 0.06 percent, according to a latest report by the International Trade Centre.

A report by McKinsey has dubbed the Pakistani pharmaceutical sector as a sunrise segment. For the industry to become a giant player on the regional scale, Pakistan needs to become a hub of research and clinical trials.

Pakistan has the potential to become a global pharmaceutical hub by exporting domestically-produced generic products and positioning itself as an offshore destination for clinical and preclinical research. “Innovation requires a number of enabling conditions such as access to top-class researchers, political and financial stability and a regulatory framework that safeguards and rewards innovation,” TDAP said.

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