Health insurance will benefit patients, economy, Pharma industry, Govt. and hospitals-Zahid Saeed

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 Panel Discussion on Ease of Doing Business in Pakistan

Health insurance will benefit patients,
economy, Pharma industry, Govt.
and hospitals - Zahid Saeed

PPMA should make courses for institutions like LUMS
& IBA to train human resource - Tauqeer ul Haq

KARACHI: Mr. Zahid Saeed Managing Director Indus Pharma moderated the panel discussion on ease of doing business in Pakistan for the pharmaceutical industry during the Second Pakistan Pharma Summit held recently. The members of the expert’s panel included Mian Mohammad Zaka Ur Rehman CEO of Schazoo Zaka, Sohail Matin CEO GSK Consumer Healthcare and Tariq Wajid Managing Director Martin Dow, Tauqeer ul Haq Managing Director Sante Pharma and Syed Nadeem Ahmad Managing Director and CEO Searle Pakistan.

In his introductory remarks Mr. Zahid Saeed said that we need experts like Prof. Marcel to come to Pakistan and train our people. However, it is difficult to bring them. Once we have trained our people, then we must start exporting our drugs to more regulated markets. For this increased interactions with international experts was needed.

Speaking about the Human Resource situation in Pakistan, Mr. Tauqeer ul Haq said that pharmaceutical industry is growing and there are significant challenges in human resource. There is a need to ensure continuous improvement in human resource situation. We are currently facing issues in technical support. GCP guidelines are becoming more difficult. There is no formal institution in Pakistan where people can be trained and we are not finding right technical support. He was of the view that DRAP and Government of Pakistan should help the Pharma industry to find experienced people. DRAP should help us and facilitate us as regards preparation of international dossiers. These are some of the issues which has affected our drug exports which are declining. We do not have trained people to find way in the international market. Room for improvement is there. As regards Sales and Marketing, it is difficult to find good people. We are quick in hiringand firing people. While hiring such staff, one must see if they have passion for sales or they have come because they were not finding job anywhere else. Efforts should be made to get good sales persons. At times they are not given proper training. There is no dearth of good people in the Pharma industry but execution is very poor.

Mr. Tauqeer ul Haq further stated that more than 80% of people are supervised by midline managers. They should be properly trained. Good sales team and efficient execution ensures success. One must look at howmid-level managers are performing. Director Marketing and Sales must go to the field and work with them, call on doctors. It is the team which makes all the difference, he remarked. People must know the area for which they have been inducted. There is big consumer market and we must institutionalize training.  PPMA and the pharmaceutical industry should get together. In India there are over one hundred courses for training of these people. On the other hand in institutions in Pakistan like IBA and LUMS, pharmaceutical specific training is very limited. We must organize proper training. Human resource has to be better if we wish to get international market share. He was of the view that PPMA should make courses for these institutions covering subjects like Sales, Marketing and Quality Control. Regular on the job training is also important whichwas our social responsibility, he added.

Speaking about the Regulatory Services Mr. Tariq Wajid said that we need to build bridges. If we cannot regulate the pharmaceutical products why the authorities were entering the field of OTC and Nuteraceuticals and wish to regulate that market as well.  First try to do your main job of regulating the pharmaceuticals market. Every country is looking for investment in their country and so is Pakistan. Hence, we need to offer incentives which are better and bigger being offered by other countries. We need to investify. I was in Hong Kong for some time and I just had to go to the Ministry of Health twice. The issues need to be resolved as per policy. You get registration within six months in Hong Kong and look for how long one has to wait in Pakistan. We can learn from regulators from overseas as to how they help industry and attract investment.

MianMohammad Zaka Ur Rehman talked about leadership constraints. He stated that new projects and drugs generate employment opportunities. We have over six hundred pharmaceutical manufacturing units. For progress we need to have areas of excellence to lead the country. Just one good institution can change the fate of the country. Pharmaceutical industry has all the raw material to make it. We need to strengthen the Human Resource Departments.  First nationalization and then 18th amendment through devolution has destroyed the industry. We have the potential to grow. Let us go for professional management and make companies more professional. Family owned companies and businesses should also become professional, remarked.

Syed Nadeem Ahmad participating in the discussion stated that when Nelson Mandela was freed, he refused to leave South Africa but he decided to serve the country. So was the case with Dr. Mahatar Mohammad of Malaysia. When I joined Searle, we had minus 34% growth. We gave people liberty and gave them authority to work and have made tremendous progress. Doing business is always difficult and we have to fight for which leadership is required, he added.

Mr. Sohail Matin talked about merges and Co-marketing. This, he opined, offers lot of benefits. Synergy is the driving factor. It is collaboration and not co-marketing. It improves business, ensures more profitability and more competence. Mr. Tarek Khan remarked that one has to know the trends. Ministry of Health and DRAP have to cooperate with the Pharma industry.

Speaking about pricing issues M. Zahid Saeed remarked that Governments are all the time looking for reduction in drug prices. Pharmaceutical industry should look into health insurance. Government of Pakistan budget for health is not going to grow much. It is not in their interest to increase prices. Once we are successful with health insurance, hospitals will grow and they will be able to expand and improve their facilities as well. Pressure on government will be reduced. Private hospitals will also expand. More revenue will come to the Pharma industry. It will also increase drug compliance, sales of the Pharma industry will grow and we will be able to increase Pakistan’s pharmaceutical market from three to six billion dollars. Health insurance will benefit patients, economy, pharmaceutical industry, government and hospitals. Let us select five main diseases and get some relief for the patients.  We pay for EOBI, Social Security for our workers but they do not provide services. Let the patients go to the private healthcare institutions. Give the employees a choice and it should be endorsed by the Government, Mr. Zahid Saeed remarked.