DRAP, NHRSC serv­ing in­ter­ests of un­li­censed man­u­fac­tur­ers

Pakistan Observer - - ECONOMY WATCH -

SALIM AHMED LA­HORE—By over reg­u­lat­ing the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try, the coun­try is serv­ing the in­ter­ests of smug­glers, un­eth­i­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers and coun­ter­feit­ers scar­ring away phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­vestors to neigh­bor­ing coun­tries and play­ing havoc with the health of suf­fer­ing hu­man­ity. Ex­perts won­der whether our reg­u­la­tors are try­ing to cre­ate place for im­ported drugs only by fix­ing non­vi­able prices of the drugs pro­duced in Pak­istan. The oft re­peated mantra that this is done in the best in­ter­est of the pa­tients is de­feated when they fix the re­tail price of Thy­roxin at Rs 100 per 100 tablet which in not vi­able com­mer­cially. Some com­pa­nies out of CSR do pro­duce a lim­ited quan­tity monthly but most reg­is­tered man­u­fac­tur­ers have stopped pro­duc­ing this life sav­ing drug. The pa­tients are forced to by smug­gled or im­ported thy­roxin at ten times the prices fixed in Pak­istan.

They fail to un­der­stand as to why they cannot fol­low the ex­am­ples of neigh­bor­ing economies like In­dia, Bangladesh and China where the reg­u­la­tions on prices are based on mar­ket mech­a­nism and based on eco­nomic re­al­i­ties. This they added is the rea­son that the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­tries in all the three economies are flour­ish­ing while es­sen­tial drugs are avail­able freely and at eco­nom­i­cal prices. These coun­tries are now im­por­tant global sup­pli­ers. Pak­istan two decades back was in this po­si­tion and housed the high­est num­ber of multi­na­tional phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies. Many of them have closed op­er­a­tions while oth­ers are see­ing prof­its de­cline rapidly forc­ing them to look at other op­tions. Many multi­na­tion­als in In­dia on the other hand are ex­pand­ing plant ca­pac­i­ties.

An in­dus­try source said that ba­sic is­sue is to un­der­stand the role of reg­u­la­tor which in many cases in Pak­istan acts like a con­troller. Out worldly it ap­pears to be serv­ing the pub­lic in­ter­est but ac­tu­ally it is all self in­ter­est and cor­rup­tion. He said that out of about 2 dozen multi­na­tion­als and 300-400 lo­cal firms none has FDA clear­ance of their pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity, a prime req­ui­site to be able to ex­port your prod­ucts. Whereas even af­ter about 3 years the in­fant Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity in Pak­istan has not been able to for­mu­late a pol­icy which could have con­sent of stake­hold­ers and gen­eral pub­lic. Un­re­al­is­tic and harsh price con­trols on the one hand are pro­mot­ing smug­gling of low priced drugs and on the other hand at the same time are driv­ing es­sen­tial drugs out of the mar­ket cre­at­ing space for coun­ter­feit­ers.

LA­HORE: Pun­jab Board of In­vest­ment and Trade team with the vis­it­ing del­e­ga­tion of In­dus­trial and Com­mer­cial Bank of China.

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