Monday June 27, 2022

Ban on import of non-essential goods hailed

By Our Correspondent
May 23, 2022

Islamabad : The Pakistan Young Pharmacists Association has appreciated the ban on the import of around three dozen luxurious and non-essential goods and demanded a similar measure by the federal government for medicines, which are also manufactured in the country, as well as food supplements, nutritional products, alternate medicines, vitamins, minerals, and health and over-the-counter products.

In a letter to the prime minister, a copy of which is available with 'The News', PYPA general secretary Dr Furqan Ibrahim insisted that the import of unnecessary items cost the country a lot of foreign exchange besides hampering the development of the local pharmaceutical industry.

He also appreciated the imposition of a general sales tax on the purchase of active pharmaceutical ingredients, the most important raw material to produce medicine, and said major reforms were needed in the pharmaceuticals and medicine manufacturing and pricing policy.

Dr Furqan said Pakistani pharmaceutical industrialists had invested in the manufacturing of APIs and raw materials in China and India, so they’re interested in importing those materials instead of manufacturing them in the country.

He said annually, Rs200 billion was spent on the import of APIs and finished medicines.

“There is no need for incentives to develop API/raw material industry in the country. The government should just impose a 20 per cent extra import duty on all those pharmaceutical manufacturers, who won’t manufacture at least 10 raw materials locally in the next two years. This measure will lead to the local manufacturing of 99 per cent APIs and raw materials in the next five years,” he said.

The PYPA general secretary also called for the grant of SME medicine/pharmaceutical manufacturing licences to pharmacists, chemists, microbiologists, biologists, and engineers with two-year pharmaceutical manufacturing experience as well as the provision of interest-free loans up to Rs10 million each to young, highly-skilled professionals to establish SME pharmaceutical manufacturing units.

He urged the prime minister to immediately order a ban on the import of medicines, which were manufactured in Pakistan, food supplements, nutritional products, alternate medicines, vitamins, minerals, and H&OTC; mandatory manufacturing of 10 raw materials by the pharmaceutical industry in the country; permission for SME pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing by highly-skilled professionals, and a probe into irregularities in drug-related affairs.