Pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan
The pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan has grown during the last few decades, almost entirely in the formulations space. At the time of the independence of Pakistan in 1947, there were few production units in the country. Currently Pakistan has about 400 low technology, large volume, pharmaceutical formulation units mainly running on Chinese equipment, including those operated by 25 multinationals present in the country. The Pakistan Pharmaceutical Industry meets around 70% of the country's demand of finished dosage forms and 4% of Active ingredients. Specialized finished dosage forms such as soft gelatin capsules, parenteral fat emulsions and Metered-dose inhalers continue to be imported. There are only a few bulk drug Active ingredient producers and Pakistan mainly depends on imports of bulk drugs for it's formulation needs resulting in frequent drug shortages. Political disturbances and allegations of under-invoicing add to the uncertainty of imports and clashes with the customs and tax authorities are common.
During late January 2012, a fake medicine crisis at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) hospital in the Lahore region of Punjab, Pakistan, claimed the lives of over 100 heart patients. The FIA, while seizing raw material from two of the raided firms; Swiss Pharmaceuticals and Zafa Pharmaceuticals, also sealed a Karachi-based factory of Efroze Chemical Industries. The FIA also put names of three owners of the raided firms on the Exit Control List (ECL) besides blocking the official website of Efroze Chemicals.
The National pharma industry has shown growth over the years, particularly over the last decade. The industry is trying to upgrade itself and today the majority industry is following local Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) laws, with a few in accordance with international guidance. Currently the industry has the capacity to manufacture a variety of traditional products ranging from simple pills to capsules, ointments and syrups.
The Pakistan pharma industry is relatively unknown in the international markets with an export turnover of US$0.1 Billion as of 2007 as compared to US$9.5 Billion from neighboring India. Pakistan Pharma Industry has only a few quality producers approved by global regulatory authorities. Like the domestic market, sales in the international market has doubled during last five years. The pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan lacks basic research or development skills and no innovative discoveries are reported.
The value of pharmaceuticals sold nationwide exceeded US$1.4 Billion in 2007 and US$2.3 Billion in 2012. The value of medicines sold is expected to exceed US$3.2 B by 2014. As of 2013, the total export value of Pakistani-manufactured medicines around the world stood at $500 million. Different companies sell a diverse range of drugs and pharmaceutical products. There is scope for growth as Pakistan ranks a low 188th on per capita health expenditure while smuggled pharmaceuticals through Afghanistan remain a threat.
The pharmaceutical sector in Pakistan is one of the still developing sectors within the country's fragile economy. New pharmacy schools have been set up nationwide in the past few years which provide and cater to pharmacy education to students of pharmacy. Within the province of Punjab, the Punjab Pharmacy Council (based in Lahore) is a government department responsible for conducting examination and tests.
The Pakistan Pharmacists Society is the national professional organisation of pharmacists country-wide and also acts as a regulatory authority controlling pharmacy practice in Pakistan. Pharmaceutical authorities in Pakistan are part of the International Pharmaceutical Federation.
Notes and references
- The Express Tribune, October 1, 2014: Shahram Haq
- Pakistan Observer, October 04, 2014
- Shahnawaz Akhter: October 19, 2014: The News
- Annual Report: Ministry of India - Department of Pharmaceuticals
- Pakistan Today:16.3.2014
- PAKISTAN PHARMACEUTICALS & HEALTHCARE REPORT Q3 2014 BUSINESS MONITOR INTERNATIONAL - MAY 1, 2014
- "Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association | Pakistan Pharmaceutical Industry". Ppma.org.pk. Retrieved 2014-03-30.
- Wikipedia:List of countries by total health expenditure (PPP) per capita
- Pakistan Pharmacists Society