Reshaping Pakistan’s Pharma Industry: Challenges and Opportunities

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 Panel Discussion at Pakistan Pharma Summit-III

Reshaping Pakistan’s Pharma Industry: 
Challenges and Opportunities

With CPEC there is lot of interest among the
Chinese in Mergers and Acquisition

LAHORE:Mr. Zahid Saeed Managing Director of Indus Pharma moderated this panel discussion during the Pakistan Pharma Summit-III organized by PPMA at Lahore from July 23-25, 2017. The members of the panel included Mian Mohammad Zaka Ur Rehman from Schazoo Zaka, Khawja Shahzeb Akram Vice President Mass Pharma, Syed Nadeem Ahmad Chief Executive Officer Searle, Mian Asad Shuja Ur Rehman Chief Executive Schazoo Pharmaceuticals and Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khokhar Chief Executive Remington Pharma.

In his introductory remarks, Mr. Zahid Saeed said that whatever we do, we need to do it as a team not individually or alone. We have remained stagnant and we have not grown. We did not get the required response for the industry. Even if DRAP wish to do something, it cannot do it alone. Country’s political situation has also played its role. When we talk to some companies oversees and invite them to come to Pakistan, they ask us what would be the time for registration, what is the price and we cannot give them an answer.

Mr. Nadeem Ahmad said that we have to move forward. Government has to do something. Industry alone cannot do anything. We have to concentrate on Biotech’s, Genetics and Nano technology but we are on ground even in exports. Dr. Qaiser said that there is great opportunity for the pharma industry but it also has some challenges. We did not get realistic prices. We are behind in technology. We have large population. The industry has so far lacked the ability to engage. We in the industry should be solution provider for illness, he added. Mian Zaka Ur Rehman said that in 1960 we used to export drugs to fourteen countries. With CPEC there is lot of interest among the Chinese in Mergers and Acquisition. Very soon China is going to be the largest economy in the world. We have the human resource and industry. Working of the DRAP is improving. We need to have a place and the Pakistani pharmaceutical industry should make use of these opportunities.

Mian Asad Shuja-ur-Rehman pointed out that in 70s, Bangladesh had very little pharma industry but now they have made lot of progress because of the government policies. Policy has to come from the Federal Government and not DRAP. Support from the government is needed for the growth of the industry for biosimilars. He further stated that let us concentrate on export market. We have a good reputation better than India and China. Let us upgrade our units to WHO level and USP level.

The next question which Mr. Zahid Saeed asked to the panelists was that why we are not in line with EU and the other world? People sell their portfolios but they have to face lot of problems. Where should the Pakistani pharma industry stand and what it should do to be better?

Syed Nadeem Ahmad suggested that let the educated and experts sit together and formulate policies. Make a deal with the government. There should be a standing committee to keep constant liaison between the government and the pharma industry.

Dr. Qadeer Khokhar said that we need more strategic leadership which should aim at Billion dollars companies within five years. We cannot achieve the target of 5Billion US$ exports the way we are working. We should use more and more information technology and there was a need for more frequent discussions among the industry, regulators and policy makers. Mian Mujtaba said that lot of companies have made investment in upgrading their manufacturing facilities. About two dozen Pakistani Pharma companies are planning to go global. Pakistan is a link between India and China. Pakistan’s rail link with Iran, Central Asian States and Turkey offers lot of opportunities. Let us start producing basics in collaboration with China and then export it to the West and India. Mian Asad Shuja Ur Rehman said that we had prepared a document for the Prime Minister, let us modify and revise it as per latest requirements and send it to the Prime Minister House. We are facing lot of problems and we are all look for exports.

The next question which was discussed was how Pakistani Pharma industry should improve its image nationally and globally? Can we do it by contract marketing for overseas companies? Corporate image Mr. Zahid Saeed remarked, was very important while dealing with Generics. Joint ventures outside Pakistan can enhance our image.

Dr. Qadeer Khokhar emphasized the importance of basic networking. Mian Mujtaba said that he was optimist. Chinese companies are coming for joint ventures. Let us go to the Stock Market. We have capabilities and Pakistan can become an economic hub for other countries. National pharmaceutical companies should go to the international market. Mian Asad Shuja Ur Rehman said that Pakistan has good reputation; we have received offers for joint ventures. There are lot of opportunities. When we go abroad, we can perform better than India and China in the export market. Time has come when we have to change from the family business. Mr. Zahid Saeed remarked that we have to come out and create space for ourselves in the market. Let us go for Mergers and Acquisitions and make a mark in the international market.

Mr. Abdul Latif Sheikh participating in the discussion remarked that he was neither from the regulators nor from the pharma industry. What he has observed over the years was that we always talk about “Us” and “Them”. Industry complains that it was not getting a fair deal from the DRAP. It may take some time. Let us not talk about “Us” and “Them”. Let us work together. Mr. Zahid Saeed remarked that we win or lose as a team. Need to have close collaboration between the Academia and Industry was also emphasized.

Phytopharmaceuticals in Europe

Dr. Rene Roth-Ehrang from MartinBauer Group from Germany was the next speaker whose presentation was on “Phytopharmaceuticals in Europe- Innovations, Quality and Regulatory”. Phytopharmaceuticals, he said, has a good market in Europe. There is a growing self-medication market. The total market for Herbal pharmaceuticals in Europe was about six Billion Euros in 2010. There is a big market for these herbal drugs in Europe, Germany and France. The three top herbal medicines market in Europe was for Cough, Respiratory medicines, stomach and digestive medicines. He also referred to the heterogeneous classification botanicals which includes medical devices, cosmetics, Novel foods, Herbal medicinal products, Food supplements and food for special medical purposes. There is no difference in quality and documentation. For approval there is a simplified procedure for traditional herbal medicinal products. In Pharmacovigilance, one has to follow quality, safety and efficacy besides cGMP. He also talked about how to manage combination products besides well-established uses of traditional drugs. Quality starts from agriculture to supply and product chain. There is a Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products in European Medicines Agency. It is responsible for preparing the agency’s opinion on herbal products. This committee was established in 2004. The committee members consist of scientific experts in the field of herbal medicines.

Speaking about innovations, he referred to Partnering, Food supplements, Revitalizing traditional products, combinations and products from outside Europe. He then gave a few examples of successful products and said that they were now moving from supplement level to traditional use level.

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