ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood said on Wednesday that the government was committed to removing all obstacles in way of the pharmaceutical sector’s growth, as it intends “to increase pharma exports up to $5 billion”.
“Special focus is being laid on increasing the [pharma] export volume through tariff rationalization, trade-related investment, institutional reforms and easing of business regulations,” the adviser said while addressing that 5th Pharma Summit organized by the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA).
Although textile was leading the country’s export, new sectors, including pharma, have now been identified which could enhance the country’s exports manifold, Dawood noted. He said the pharma industry was very important for the country’s development and that a strategy was being developed to reform it on modern lines.
The adviser urged the pharma sector to look towards the African countries and try to capture their markets. “African countries have a population of around 1.3 billion people with $2.7 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We [govt] also wants to double its trade with Africa during the next five years.”
He said a special ‘pharmaceutical export promotion committee’ has also been set up to encourage the production and exports of medicines and medical products.
“We are faced with debt crisis…and the only answer id more and more exports.”
Speaking on the occasion, Adviser to PM on National Health Dr Zafar Mirza said that the government has already completed its work on the ‘National Medicine Policy’ which would be announced within the next two weeks.
The adviser reiterated the government was committed to reforming the pharma sector and that all bottlenecks were being removed in this regard.
However, he conceded that there were more difficulties due to the presence of “interest groups”.
Dr Mirza said efforts were also being to ensure merit at the regulatory authority [DRAP]. He urged the pharma sector to shun the practice of unethical promotion of their certain products.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, PPMA Chairman Mian Zakaur Rehman said that Pakistan has a strong pharma industry in all Muslim countries and 98 per cent of country’s requirements were being fulfilled locally.
The pharma sector has witnessed 20pc growth in the last two year, he noted. “We could fulfil the requirements of the entire region as the country is blessed with raw materials used in manufacturing medicines.”
He said the summit would discuss in detail issues related to functioning, regulation, control, growth, and advancement of the Pakistani pharmaceutical industry.
Former state minister and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan CEO Tariq Ikram said Pakistan has potential to produce and export quality phamra products. The current export volume of the phama sector could easily be enhanced to $5.4 billion from $300 million, he added.