ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has urged the government to provide special incentives to pharmaceutical raw material producers so that Pakistan could achieve self-sufficiency in this field and get rid of its dependence on import of this material from other countries.
Ahmed Hassan Moughal, President, ICCI said that consequent upon the elimination of special status of Occupied Kashmir by India through revocation of Article 370, Pakistan had suspended bilateral trade with it and business community had supported this move. However, he said that over 750 pharmaceutical companies including domestic and multinationals were operating in Pakistan and most of them were importing raw material from India, which was cheap for them as compared to other countries.
After the suspension of bilateral trade with India, they were facing problems in manufacturing of life saving drugs which could create shortage of medicines and increase their prices as well, he expressed.
He said that government has taken a wise step by allowing pharma companies to import raw material from India in order to avoid shortage of lifesaving drugs in the market.
Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that the size of pharmaceutical market in Pakistan was projected to cross Rs.300 billion by 2020. He said that pharma companies were spending billions of rupees on import of raw material due to which the medicines were becoming costly for the people while the country was also losing precious foreign exchange.
He urged the government for providing special incentives for investing in the production of pharma raw material so that maximum investors could invest in this field and make Pakistan self-sufficient in pharma raw material.
Rafat Farid Senior Vice President and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi Vice President, ICCI said that during 2018-19, India’s exports of pharmaceuticals products were over $19 billion while Pakistan’s were less than $220 million during the same period, which were not encouraging. They were of the view that if government provided good incentives for production of pharma raw material in the country, Pakistan could earn billions of dollars through exports of pharma products and improve its economy as well.