Crisis of Pharmaceutical Industry

By Khan, Jawaid Tariq | Economic Review, August 1990 | Go to article overview

Crisis of Pharmaceutical Industry


Khan, Jawaid Tariq, Economic Review


Crisis of Pharmaceutical Industry

It is a well known fact that the Pharmaceutical Industry particularly the National Pharmaceutical Manufacturers are facing innumerable problems. Multinationals who control over 75 per cent of the pharmaceutical market in Pakistan are naturally, like any shrewd foreign investor, are not ready to lose their share voluntarily.

The policies of the Government are still not clear about the growth of the National Pharmaceutical Industry, despite the fact that in the manifesto of the past ruling party and later in the National Health Policy the then Government committed to minimise the role of multinationals and to encourage the National Pharmaceutical Industry. Nothing was done in this direction.

The National Pharmaceutical Industry in addition to the above two factors is also suffering on the following accounts: [right arrow] They are being pressurised to modernise their plants and factories according to the latest GOOD MANUFACTURERS PRACTICES, whereas they are neither being given any incentives nor any concessions of any sort. [right arrow] Unlike other developing countries of the world, the multinationals in Pakistan are allowed to manufacture even ordinary drugs like Pain Killers (Aspirin, Paracetamol etc;) Vitamins, Cough Syrups and other Over the Counter (O.T.C.) medicines.

In almost all developing countries in the world the multinationals are allowed to manufacture their own research products only or the products which they manufacture in their home country also. As a result of this anomaly, multinationals by sheer strength of their power, money and large amount of funds at their disposal for promotion of their products are depriving the National Pharmaceutical Industry of its justified rights. [right arrow] It is absolutely a hearsay, which unfortunately, right from the top to the bottom in the Government, the Media and as a result the general public is made to believe that the prices of medicines in Pakistan are very high. But the pharmaceutical industry has proved beyond any shadow of doubt that the prices of medicines in Pakistan are among the lowest in the world, much lower even from neighbouring countries like INDIA and SRILANKA. Can anyone imagine that a tablet of Aspirin which was costing paisas five (5) ten years ago is still costing paisas five (5) despite the depreciation of the Pakistan Rupee against major currencies of the world by over 150%, during the same period and increase of other inputs and costs including wages, electricity/gas, telephone, postage etc. by 300% in the same period. Same applies to most of the medicines. In fact prices of many medicines have declined during the last 10 years due to decrease in International Prices of their raw materials. [right arrow] The pharmaceutical industry is the only industry which is on one side squeezed by price control and on the other hand prices are not being allowed to be increased proportionate to increase in the costs including depreciation of Pak Rupee. This is against all laws of natural justice and also a violation of the basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan. …

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