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February 20, 2020

‘National medicine policy to be announced shortly’

Islamabad

February 20, 2020

Islamabad : The government will announce the National Medicine Policy within the next two weeks; a five-year action plan has also been devised for implementation of the policy, which is aimed at reformation of the pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan.

The Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza shared this piece of information Wednesday while addressing the 5th Pharma Summit organized by the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA). The seminar was also addressed by the PM’s Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Chairman PPMA Mian Zaka ur Rehman, Professor of Medicine and Healthcare at the University of Huddersfield Dr. Zaheer-ud-Din Babar, Chairman of the Summit Dr. Kaiser Waheed, and pharma sector notables. Issues and challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry were also debated.

Voicing the government’s intention to reform the pharmaceutical sector, Dr. Zafar said all bottlenecks are being removed, professionals are being inducted into the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), and the regulatory system is being made predictable and easy for this growing sector. He urged the pharmaceutical sector to refrain from unethical promotion of products and pointed out that a lot of difficulties have to do with the presence of certain interest groups. “If pharmaceutical companies will keep public interest in view and create ease for people, contrary to their current image of making huge profits by selling costly medicines, the government too will look after the welfare of this sector,” Dr. Zafar added.

Earlier, Abdul Razak Dawood said, the government is committed to increasing the country’s exports by removing all obstacles and roadblocks. “Special focus is also being given to increase export volume through tariff rationalization, trade related investment, institutional reforms and easing of business regulations,” he said. He said textile was Pakistan’s leading export but now new sectors including the pharmaceutical sector have been identified to enhance exports.

Dawood said, during the next five years, the government wants to double its trade with African countries, which have a population of around 1.3 billion, and a GDP of $2.7 trillion. He urged the pharmaceutical sector to capture African markets. He shared that a special pharmaceutical export promotion committee has been set up to encourage production and export of medicines and medical products, and

called upon the pharmaceutical industry to help enhance the current volume of over $300 million exports to over $3 billion.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, Mian Zaka-ur-Rehman said Pakistan has the strongest pharmaceutical industry in all Muslim countries, and 98 percent of country’s requirements are being met locally. “The pharma sector has witnessed 20 percent growth in the last two year, which means that we can fulfill the requirement of the whole region as Allah has blessed us with the raw materials being used in manufacturing medicines,” he said. Zaka added that there are tremendous opportunities for pharma sector to export their products to African countries.

Former State Minister and CEO of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan Tariq Ikram, said Pakistan has rich potential for export of phamra products. “The current export volume of this sector can easily be enhanced to $5.4 billion,” he said.

Titled ‘Mastering innate strengths and acquiring new capabilities,’ this year’s summit will feature extensive discussions on issues related to functioning, regulation, control, growth, and advancement of Pakistan’s pharmaceutical industry.