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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Young Pharmacist Association (PYPA) while appreciating the government’s decision of banning unnecessary items imports has suggested the government to put Pakistan among the top drug exporting countries within the next 10 years by imposing GST on active pharmaceutical ingredient (API).

In budgetary proposals to the Ministry of Finance and other institution, the PYPA has made the following five recommendations to make the country self-sufficient in medicine production aiming at future to turn it into an exporter like India and China: (i) Ban import of medicines (which are being manufactured in Pakistan) and Ban Import of Food Supplements, Nutritional Products, Alternate Medicines, Vitamins, minerals, H&OTC etc. (ii) Make it mandatory to manufacture 10 raw materials within two years for all pharmaceutical manufacturers, otherwise, levy extra import duty 20 per cent on import of raw materials. (iii) Allow SME Pharmaceutical /Medicine Manufacturing for Highly Skilled Professionals. (iv) Start detailed criminal investigation on corruption, money laundering, exorbitant prices, registration of banned variant of paracetamol. (v) Recover all looted, embezzled (money laundering) money from DRAP/drug mafia and pharma industry.

According to the association, the country needs major reforms in Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), pharmaceuticals/medicine manufacturing/medicine pricing policy etc. Pakistani Pharma Industrialists invested in the manufacturing of APIs/raw materials in China and India; hence they are desperate to import raw materials from China and India, instead of manufacturing in Pakistan, with the connivance of DRAP. They alleged that the drug mafia is doing annual Rs200 billion money laundering (transfer pricing) through a banking channel in import of finished medicines and import of APIs.

Due to heavy imports of unnecessary items Pakistan faced a huge financial loss of foreign exchange and the local industry could not be developed. Now the local industry will flourish and the country will stand on its own feet firmly within the next 10 years. PYPA is standing with our government’s decisions and also strongly appreciates the decision of the Government to impose GST on the purchase of API used in the pharmaceutical industry.

India and China has developed basic manufacturing pharma industry within the last 30 years and Pakistan’s regulator due to incompetence and complicity since the formation badly failed to establish API/Raw material manufacturing industry in Pakistan. There is no need to through any incentives to develop API/raw material industry in Pakistan.

The PYPA said that if the government was imposing 20 percent extra import duty on all those pharma manufacturers, who would not manufacture at least 10 raw materials in Pakistan in the next two years. According to the PYPA the move will enable Pakistan within next the five years to produce 99 percent of the API raw materials locally.

The association has suggested the government of making a revolutionary policy to in connection with setting up of SME medicine/pharma manufacturing licenses to Pharmacists, Chemists, Microbiologists, Biologists, Engineers etc with two years pharma manufacturing experience. The association further recommended the government to give interest free up-to Rs10 million loans to young highly-skilled professionals to establish SME Pharma Manufacturing Units.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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