PPMA should form Pharma Policy and Research Advocacy Council to guide Govt. for a robust, healthy Pharma industry


 PPMA should form Pharma Policy and Research
Advocacy Council to guide Govt. for a
robust, healthy Pharma industry

Continuity in Government and policies is essential for
progress and economic development - Khalid Mahmood

KARACHI: PPMA should create a Pharma Policy and Research Advocacy Council with a team of market-oriented economists and technocrats to make recommendations to the Government for a robust and healthy pharmaceutical industry. We need continuity in Government and policies and a democratic set up.  In any country where the army takes over after couple of years on regular basis and does not allow democratic system to develop on sound footings, flourish and prosper, there cannot be any stability and any development. For economic growth and development, political stability, conducive environment with security without any law and order problem is extremely important. This was stated by Mr. Khalid Mahmood Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Pakistani pharmaceutical giant Getz Pharma. He was speaking in the inaugural session of the Second Pakistan Pharma Summit held at Karachi recently.  This session was chaired by Minister of State for Health Mrs. Saira Afzal Tarar while COO DRAP Dr. Mohammad Aslam was also present.

Mrs. Saira Afzal Tarar Federal Minister of State for Health presenting a
mementoe to Mr. Khalid Mahmood Managing Director & CEO of
Getz Pharma at the Second Pakistan Pharma Summit held
at Karachi on May 3, 2016.

Other recommendations which he made were that Government must increase its spending on Education and Health from the current 0.8% and 0.5% of GDP to 2% on Education and 3% on Health respectively. It must also increase tax to GDP ratio from the current 10-15% which is the median in the region. It should also increase regional trade from 0.3% of GDP to 5% of GDP. Government should not let the MNCs impose Trips ++ on the Generics Pharma Industry. It should also refuse to accept Data Protection/Data Exclusivity and do not accept patent linkages either. Spelling out his recommendations for the DRAP Mr. Khalid Mahmood said that it must have WHO Pre-qualified quality control laboratories in all the five provinces and at the Federal level. DRAP must also qualify and join the PICS.

Mr. Khalid Mahmood lived up to his reputation of being the real brain of Pakistan’s Pharmaceutical industry. In his presentation which was supplemented with lot of facts and figure she discussed at length the problems of the Pakistan’s Pharma industry and how to come out of it. He said, he will be honest and candid in his views, more factual, civil and not emotional. The global Pharma Market, Mr. Khalid Mahmood said was between 1000-1,100 Billion US dollars with a growth of 5-7%.  Out of this United States has a share of US$ 400-410 Billion with 4-6% growth. Europe accounts for US$ 155-165 Billion with a growth rate of 1-3%. Japan has a Pharma market of US$ 80-90 Billion with a growth rate of 5-7%. The emerging pharmaceuticals market in countries like China, Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, South Africa, Ukraine, Egypt, Thailand, Pakistan, Vietnam and Romania etc., all put together  has a total Pharma market of  US$ 261 Billion with  11-13% growth while the Pharma Market of the rest of the world was  US$120-125 Billion with a growth of  2-4%.

Giving a comparative study of Market size and CAGR of various countries, he gave the following figures:

Giving comparison of Pakistan Pharma Market with the market of a few selected Asian countries Mr. Khalid Mahmood said that Pakistan with a population of 185 Million has total Pharma market of 2,820 Million US$ and we spend US$ fifteen per person on drugs as compared to Turkey which has a population of just 76 Million with Pharma Market of US$ 7,622 and their per capita expenditures on drugs was one hundred US$. Philippines has a population of ninety million with Pharma Market size of US$ 3,304 Million with per capita drug expenditures of US$ 33.  Thailand has a population of 68 Million with Pharma Market of US$ 3,489 Million with per capita drugs expenditures of US$ 51. Similarly Vietnam and Malaysia with  population of  90 Million and  30 Million with Pharma markets of  US$ 2,572 Million and US$ 1,548 Million have Per capita drugs expenditures of  US$ twenty nine and fifty two US$ respectively. Hence, we have the distinction of spending the lowest on drugs as compared to all other countries in this region. I recently visited Turkey and bought a drug which was 700% more expensive as compared to Pakistan and mind you they are exporting drugs to many countries of the world, he added. As regards Government spending on Health care it was also the lowest as compared to other countries in the region.

It was high time that the Government of Pakistan changes its priorities as well as Mindset otherwise we will continue to remain an under developed country and facing all these miseries, Mr. Khalid Mahmood remarked.

Natural resources in Pakistan

Speaking about the natural resources of Pakistan, Mr. Khalid Mahmood said that we have natural resources which many countries do not have.  God has gifted this country with enormous natural resources. We have 29th largest Natural Gas Reserves, 7th largest Coal and Copper reserves, 2nd largest Salt Mine. Pakistan was the 4th largest Cotton producer, 11th largest Wheat producer and 12th largest Rice producer. We have the World’s second highest Peak- the largest non-polar glaciers in the world, a Coastline of over one thousand fifty Kilometer long with Mighty Indus having a length of 2,900 KMs.

PPMA organized Second Pakistan Pharma Summit at Karachi on May 3, 2016. Picture shows Federal
Minister of State for Health Mrs. Saira Afzal Tarar presenting mementoes to Mr. Nadeem Ahmad MD
Searle, Mr.Shahzaib, Mian Mohammad Zaka and Mr.Zahid Saeed MD Indus Pharma.

Pharma Exports: Citing Drugs Exports figures for the Year 2014, Mr. Khalid Mahmood pointed out that India has a Drugs Export worth  US$ 11,663 Million, Israel US$ 6,212 Million, Turkey  US$ 807 Million, Jordan US$ 658 Million whereas Pakistan’s Drug Exports were just worth US$ 199 Million. Many of these countries get their drugs manufactured by other countries but in Pakistan we do not allow Toll manufacturing which was no less than a tragedy.

Speaking about the total exports from the Region Mr. Khalid Mahmood pointed out that India was on top with exports worth US$ 264 Billion followed by Thailand with US$ 211 Billion, Malaysia US$ 200 Billion, Vietnam US$ 179 Billion, Philippines US$ 59 Billion, Bangladesh US$ 35 Billion, Pakistan just US$ 20 Billion while Sri Lanka and Jordan has US$ 10 and 8 Billion respectively. It is worth nothing that our total exports were even less than Bangladesh, he remarked.

Challenges to Pakistan Pharma Industry

Speaking about the challenges to Pakistan’s Pharma Industry Mr. Khalid Mahmood said that in his view the greatest challenge was inconsistent policies of the government and at times having no Policy at all. He particularly highlighted the Lack of any alignment and co-ordination between the DRAP and the Pharma Industry which was extremely important for the progress of industry and the healthcare sector of the country. We recently held a meeting with the Government officials including the Minister, Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of DRAP.I am convinced that we can start a new beginning. We have a tradition that the Ministers come to such meeting late and we all have to wait but today we saw the Minister was here right on time. She also has knowledge of all the problems faced by the Pharma industry.  She is always ready to respond.


Photographed at the Second Pakistan Pharma Summit 2016 held at Karachi on May 3, 2016 from
(L to R) are Mr. Nadeem Ahmed Chandna, Mr. Nadeem Khalid, Dr. Kaiser Waheed, Mr. Zahid
Saeed, Mr. Ayub Siddiqui, Mr. Asad Shuja-ur –Rehman and Mr. Jamshed Ahmed.

Turning his guns towards DRAP, Mr. Khalid Mahmood said that it has no Vision, No Mission and No KPIs. You just have to look at its website and then compare it with the website of the Malaysian Regulatory agency and you will see the difference as it has the Mission, Vision statement as well as the KPIs.  Continuity in leadership is extremely essential. We can see the fresh air. It is important that we focus on our problems hence I will dare to give the following suggestions, he remarked.

  1. DRAP needs to have the Right Vision, Right Mission and Right KPIs.  In Malaysia we could start our plant just one week after completion whereas in Pakistan we cannot commission our plant and start production after four years.
  2. Since the inception of DRAP Fees has been increased three to five times. For few big companies it may not matter but for small companies it does matter while the services have deteriorated to a crisis level.
  3. Pharma industry requires high capital investment on regular basis as it is Research and Development, Technology intensive industry but the Government has put a freeze on drug prices since 2001 except in rare cases. Over three hundred essential drugs are not being produced in the country because it was not economically viable hence they were being smuggled. All these measures were increasing infant mortality as well as maternal mortality as a result of price freeze and a mindset by DRAP to not exceed 8% of price increase even on hardship cases. We need decent pricing system.
  4. Pakistan also has the highest Infant Mortality Rates in the Region which was 85/1000 births as compared to 2-3/1000 in Korea, Japan and Singapore, less than 25/1000 in Bangladesh, 32/1000 in Bhutan and 36/1000 in Nepal. Pakistan also has 40 still birth per thousand as compared to world average of just 14 still births per thousand live births, he remarked.
  5. There is no WHO pre-qualified Government Laboratory. DRAP has no actionable plan or road map to become a member of Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operating Scheme (PICs).
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