off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

A positive step in
the right direction


The present Government has provided us ample opportunities to criticize it for its failure of financial and economic policies but professional ethics demand that one must appreciate it when it takes some positive steps in the right direction. It is in this context that one would like to commend it for its policy decisions related to the Pharmaceutical Trade and Industry. These decisions were announced by Mr. Abdul Razzak Dawood Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment while addressing the First Pakistan Pharma Export Summit and Awards 2021 organized by Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association at Islamabad on September 29th 2021 where Advisor to the PM on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan was also present.

According to these decisions the government has removed all the duties on APIs, given permission for Toll Manufacturing. The industry has also been allowed to produce nutraceuticals and medical devices in the same manufacturing plant, the tariff for the pharma industry will be fixed by the Commerce Ministry instead of Federal Board of Revenue while suitable amendments will also be made to the Drugs Act 1976 and price fixing will be taken away from the Federal Health Ministry and shifted to Commerce Ministry. Other measures being taken include introducing reforms in Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, training its staff and dispose of the pending cases of drug registration within the next two months. One window operation will be ensured; speedy registration will be made possible besides providing conducive environment for doing business. Not only that State Bank of Pakistan will also be requested to come up with a special package for the pharmaceutical trade and industry. Advisor to the PM on CPEC Mr. Mansoor Akhtar also announced that special facilitation will be ensured to attract major pharmaceutical raw material producers from China to set up joint ventures with Pakistani pharmaceutical companies under the CPEC project.

All these are very positive steps in the right direction which meets numerous long standing demands of the pharmaceutical trade and industry. It will not only allow them to properly equip, staff and modernize their manufacturing facilities, get hem accredited by international regulatory bodies, improving the quality of drugs which will go a long way in improving our drugs exports as well which has a great potential. All this became possible due to meaningful discussions between the government agencies, regulatory bodies and the representatives of the pharma industry thereby taking all the stake holders into confidence. It also proved that by taking all the stake holders into confidence and meaningful discussions, a lot can be achieved which will help accelerate economic development in the country which we desperately need if we have to achieved financial and economic independence and sustainability in the long run. It was heartening to note that Mr. Abdul Razzak Dawood in his address did acknowledge the guidance, help and assistance provided by Mr. Tariq Ikram former Chief Executive of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP). He further advised those present that they must look into Tariq Ihram’s presentation at the PESA 2021 Summit carefully as it has lot of very good suggestions which will help them increase their drugs exports. Since Mr. Tariq Ikram has himself been associated with the pharma industry for a long time in his professional career, he is not only fully aware of the problems and difficulties faced by the industry but also has the competence to suggest some positive steps in the national interest. His passion for Drugs Exports is known to everyone, hence giving him credit by Mr. Abdul Razzak Dawood was indeed commendable which must be appreciated.

One sincerely hopes that the Government which is faced with numerous problems and has to take some unpleasant decisions will follow this policy of taking all the stake holders into confidence, having meaningful discussions before formulation any policies in different sectors. It will pay rich dividends and ease the problems and difficulties being faced by the government at present.

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