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Business & Finance

Eli Lilly ceases operations in Pakistan

  • Its medicines will be available through its distributor
Published November 11, 2022
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Pharma company Eli Lilly, known for its diabetic medicine Humulin that has an 85% share in the country, has ceased its operations in Pakistan including research and communicating new therapies to doctors.

The US-based company had stopped its manufacturing activities earlier, and was currently dependent on importing its medicines and marketing them in Pakistan.

The company’s medicines will remain available through its distributor Ali Gohar Company Limited (AGCL) but its direct activities have stopped.

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“As there will be no direct operations, there will be no one to introduce new therapies from the company,” Ayesha T. Haq, Executive Director at Pakistan Pharma Bureau, told Business Recorder. “This is a huge loss.”

Haq said access to quality medicines will be severely impacted as research-based multinational pharma companies continue to leave the country.

“Foreign pharmaceutical companies in Pakistan have reduced from 48 to just 22 in around 18 years. Successive governments’ unpredictable, inconsistent and uncertain policies have been the reasons.”

Drug shortage: GSKCH rejects claims related to hoarding of Panadol

She added that one-sided regulation of prices has made it difficult for pharma companies to remain profitable.

She added that the government listened to GSKCH, the makers of Panadol, only after they stopped making the medicine, and announced force majeure.

“It was only one of the 48 hardship cases recently presented to the Federal Cabinet for approval. There are hundreds of cases pending and unless the government approves them there is a clear and present danger that all those low-priced drugs will disappear from the market. Companies will be forced one by one to stop production.”

Drug shortage hits Karachi as demand exceeds supply

The Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA), another representative body of local pharma companies, had earlier warned that it will increase prices of select medicines if the government does not come to the negotiating table.

Former PPMA chairman Zahid Saeed claimed that the industry was moving towards disaster as around 150 to 200 factories had shut down.

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