KARACHI – Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA) has demanded the government to establish on emergency basis a one-window operation at the federal level and in provincial capitals to ease up all bureaucratic procedures and hurdles in the way of medicines’ firms willing to do exports.
This consensus demand was made by speakers at a seminar on the issue of exports by pharmaceutical industry of the country held here the other day. The seminar was organized by the PPMA with the backdrop that annual exports of Pakistani pharmaceutical companies had dropped to alarming level of 200 million US Dollars. While the industry has now aimed to increase its exports to 05 billion Dollars in next five years despite stiff competition from medicine manufacturers’ of the neighbouring countries as for such a national cause it seeks special incentives and measures from the government.
Concerned speakers also demanded establishing a Pakistan-level Pharma Export Council for boosting exports of medicines from the country in order to compete with drug manufacturers of the regional countries.
Speaking on the occasion, Central Chairman of PPMA Dr. Kaiser Waheed said it was high time that the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) should completely waive or significantly decrease fee for all sorts of documentation and procedures required for exports of medicines from the country.
He said the proposed one-window operations required for exports of drugs should grant all necessary permissions and get issued no-objection certificates from relevant state agencies in least possible time preferably in a single day.
The proposed one-window operation should oversee and look after all exports related operations of the pharmaceutical industry.
He urged the Federal Commerce Ministry to revive the system in practice during past regimes where federal governments had been used to bear the expenses up to 50 per cent for hiring staff in the form of medical representatives and opening up of offices by pharmaceutical firms abroad in order to enhance exports of medicines from the country.
The PPMA chairman demanded that autonomy should be granted to maximum possible extent to the chairman Registration board of Drap so that he could speed up process of registration of medicines being manufactured in the country in order to facilitate their exports.
Other speakers of the seminar said that billions of rupees had been lying unused in Central Research Fund maintained by Health ministry as Pharma companies had been contributing one per cent of their profits towards this fund since 1976 for doing research for development of new medicines. The industry on alternative basis should get access to this fund for purely utilizing the unused finances for its growth especially from point of view of exports-related requirements.
State Minister for National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar who was chief guest on the occasion assured the participants of the moot to give due consideration to their proposals for enhancing manifold drugs’ exports from the country.
Punjab Minister for Primary and Secondary Health Khawaja Imran Nazeer said that provincial government would soon take a decision to annul or further amend Punjab Drugs (Amendment) Act-2017 in order to allay serious reservations of the Pharmaceutical industry.
He said that health ministers of Punjab and federal governments, the Law and Information ministers of the provincial government had been in contact with each other on the issue of controversy surrounding Punjab Drugs (Amendment) Act-2017 in order to resolve the dispute related to the drugs’ industry.
Drap Chief Executive Officer Dr. Muhammad Aslam also spoke on the occasion.