Dear Colleagues!  This is Asrar Qureshi’s Blog Post #615 for Pharma Veterans. Pharma Veterans welcome sharing of knowledge and wisdom by Veterans for the benefit of Community at large. Pharma Veterans Blog is published by Asrar Qureshi onWordPress, the top blog site. Please email to for publishing your contributions here.

Opening Note

February 2022 marked my completing 47 years of working in Pharma Industry. Allah be praised. I am still working. The first half of my working career was spent in Multinational companies, and the latter half in the Local Pharma, making me well-versed with both innovators and generics markets. I also had the opportunity to work in business as well as operations.

My journey of near half century is also the journey of Pharma Industry in Pakistan. Great changes have occurred in this time and a lot could be written about it. In my blogs, which were started about four and a half years ago, I have covered several topics related to Pakistan Pharma Industry. This multi-part series shall do and review the SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats – of the Pharma Industry.


In the last several posts, I have identified, listed, and described Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. I shall now proceed to analyze this data, one part of which is looking at it from various angles. I shall then proceed to suggest Strategies in this light.

I have always emphasized that SWOT is a basic tool. If this is done rightly, strategy making become easy and focused.

Let us start by this viewing this grid in multidimensional way.


The organizations’ working can be consolidated under four heads:

Direction – What the organization is mostly chasing

Operations – The state of operations of major functions

Compliance – The effort to comply with standards and regulations

Domain – The primary business area

This is the situation when we club above parameters under these heads.

The picture is self-revealing. Our Local Pharma is focused on business, today, and at all costs. They are not working towards operational efficiency, or compliance. They are also sticking to the manufacturing of conventional drugs in conventional way. They are not considering upstream/ downstream expansion. Probably, 8-10 companies have ventured into API manufacturing, but there are few issues there. Every company is making the same few APIs. It is not clear if they are into basic manufacturing, or semi-basic manufacturing. If they are buying semi-finished and doing last couple of steps, then it is semi-basic and it would not give the advantage API manufacturing can give to industry. Another issue is that the concessions are asked even before delivering anything.

Operational efficiency is neither universally understood nor pursued. Our supply chain, or the semblance of it, is focused on unit price, not on value for money and time. Supply chain is not integrated either. Procurement is usually kept by the owners in their hands because it is the largest consumer of revenue. Other parts of supply chain are divided into other departments and therefore efficiency cannot be ensured. Our agility is based on haste, not on the concept of raising an agile organization.

Compliance is our most vulnerable soft belly. The Local Pharma is mostly averse to following the guidelines, be they local or international. There is a constant effort to bypass, ignore, avoid, implement regulations in one or the other area. For nominal cost savings, mistakes are let go. The most serious case of contaminated medicine of Efroze causing death of over 200 people, did not jolt the Local Pharma in any way. Efroze lost business but did not commit to do better. Our international business is not increasing due to non-compliance. We do not qualify inspections and are losing even in smaller countries. Every now and then, government announces ambitious plans to reach 2 billion US$ export in the next three years. PPMA members also support the plan verbally, but nothing is accomplished practically. Our international business has actually shrunk in size. It is true that more companies are foraying into the international arena, but the business size is not increasing.

To be Continued……

Disclaimer. Most pictures in these blogs are taken from Google Images which does not show anyone’s copyright claim. However, if any such claim is presented, we shall remove the image with suitable regrets.

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