Proceedings of Panel Discussion on Strategy for boosting Drugs Exports

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 Proceedings of Panel Discussion on
Strategy for boosting Drugs Exports

KARACHI: Mr. Ayub Ahmed Siddiqui GM International Operations at Indus Pharma moderated the panel discussion on making strategies to boost drugs exports during the Second Pakistan Pharma Summit organized by PPMA at Karachi on May 3rd 2016..  Members of the panel included Mr. Kashif Sajjad Sheikh MD and CEO of CCL Pharmaceuticals, Mian Asad Shuja Ur Rehman from Schazoo Pharmaceuticals, Khawaja Shahzeb Akram Vice President Mass Pharma, Syed Jamshed Ahmed CEO PharmEvo and Mr. Nadeem Khalid Chief Executive Officer Herbion.

Mr. Kashif Sajjad Sheikh pointed out that our current drugs exports were US$ 215 Million and it was growing. I do not know how Pakistan’s drugs export was decreasing as we were not in the negative and we are in twenty markets. Local Generics industry has done well. We have a growing local market and exports was not on our agenda. During the last three to five years, regulatory environment has changed but Pakistani Pharma industry did not adopt to these changes, he added.

Mr. Nadeem Khalid opined that we went outside in early 90s. At that time regulatory requirements were not that stringent. Now bioequivalence studies are required. Each and every batch has to go through CDL. It has become very difficult as we are operating in twentysix countries. Not a single country has got price control. With strict price control, how one can make further investment. Russia is now supporting the local industry. They have started developing their own pharmaceutical industry and they will put some duties on imports. We got PIC certified and you have to establish office putting regulatory and finance people there. Distributors are not prepared to do all this for you and looking at the present environment, Pakistan does not stand a chance in Exports, he added.

Mian Asad Shuja Ur Rehman pointed out that he was not aware of any declining trend in our exports. He wanted to know which company has lost the market. We are growing at a growth of 23%. He suggested that let us make a committee and find out the truth. If right people are working for you, you are capable of increasing exports. We need support of DRAP but at present we have no government support. We can certainly increase our exports. DRAP should join hands with PICS which will be helpful for us.

Syed Jamshed Ahmad talked about international market and mentioned about Pharmacovigilance and safety submission data.  He was of the view that it takes lot of time and problems to get regulatory support. It is desirable to have separate offices for business and regulatory affairs and a separate department for exports. We have most competent people, hardworking people whoare better than Indians and wherever we have gone, we have left our footprints. PakistanPharma industry has lot of potential and we need to unfold and explore exports. He further pointed out that we must promote the brand of Pakistan. Pakistani pharmaceutical companies have a very good image and PPMA can play a role in this regard. We should have some institution as we are not getting training. We must utilize the intellectual capital coming from overseas, let us train our people and make them competitive. We have always won over India in the market we are operating and people have confidence in products produced in Pakistan, he added.

Mr. Kashif Sajjad Sheikh talked about thinking strategically and said entry barriers have been increased even in Asia and Africa as there have been dramatic changes. They are encouraging local industry. For Generics companies previously there were few regulations but now there are more and more regulationsand we are going to face new problems. They can substitute generic drugs any time.Competition is also growing among the national companies. We get APIs from India and China which is competitive and challenging. It is important that we should know the competitive landscape. We must do our homework and carefully look at the competitive market. Be specific and find out competitive advantage. It requires lot of advantage and lot of collaboration between all the stake holders i.e. government, Pharma industry and DRAP.

During the discussion it was also pointed out that in Sri Lanka one can opt for fast track registration by paying the fee of one thousand US dollars. We are trying to convince our government. We can also export alternative medicines. India has done so.Many pharmaceutical companies are coming in alternative medicine and they need some incentives. We do get certificate for exports but when they ask us for free sale certificate, we are handicapped. At this, we are asked why you want to sell the drugs to us which are not available in your own country.  In fact our Drugs Export Policy has many such lacunas, he remarked.