Pharma Trade and Industry finding itself in a difficult situation


Pharma Trade and Industry finding 
itself in a difficult situation
Devaluation of currency, increase in interest rates,
strict price control and increasing rates of
Electricity, Gas making it difficult to do business

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Pharmaceutical Trade and Industry is finding it extremely difficult to carry on their business due to massive devaluation of the Pakistani currency, increase in interest rates coupled with strict price control and increasing charges for electricity, Gas and other essential services. If this uncertainty continues for a bit longer, it is feared that we might face acute shortage of drugs even the lifesaving preparations in the days to come.

For the time being the industry has tried to adjust itself with the prevailing situation. Some of the multinationals are reported to have curtailed the production of some drugs which were economically prices. Since the industry had got some relief some months ago, did manage to get some price increase particularly in hardship cases, they are pulling along. But if the authorities refuse to allow price increase linked with the Consumer Price Index as promised in the past, it will create a difficult situation. The major national pharmaceutical companies with large turnover who manage good sales and also have a sizeable drug export portfolio also seem to be content with the situation while a few others who are finding it difficult might go to the court to seek relief to the delight of the legal profession who charge huge fees for providing legal assistance. Many manufacturing units are reported to have reduced their overall production particularly of those drugs where the profit margin has either decreased substantially or almost eliminated. An overall slowdown is being observed in the industry.

Pakistan imports most of the pharmaceutical raw materials from overseas and in view of the appreciation in the value of US Dollar, manufacturers are a bit reluctant to place orders for new consignments. Drug prices are controlled and since it is a very sensitive issue, the authorities are also reluctant to provide any concession, benefits or incentives to the pharmaceutical industry. On the whole there is a great uncertainty. All new plans to expand and equip the manufacturing plants, it is learnt, have also been put on hold for the time being. If the growth and development of the industry is retarded, it will also create lot of social problems as it offers employment to a large number of educated youth and absorbs lot of new talent. Political instability in the country has also increased the worries of the businessmen in general and pharmaceutical trade and industry is no exception. The situation demands an in depth analysis of the whole situation, discussion with the PPMA leadership and some remedial measures before it is too late.

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