Dear Colleagues! This is Asrar Qureshi’s Blog Post #642 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for publishing your contributions here.
February 2022 marked my completing 47 years of working in Pharma Industry. Allah be praised. I am still working. 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 is the SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats – Analysis of the Pharma Industry and propose strategies.
It is time to gather all that has been discussed, sum it up and close this discussion.
Pharma Industry Pakistan is a key industry for the following reasons.
- Medicines are a key component of healthcare, without which healthcare cannot be provided. The entire healthcare is based upon three major pillars: clinical evaluation, diagnostic procedures, and pharmacological treatment. Intervention, surgery, counseling or else are offshoots to these.
- Easy and economical availability of drugs is essential for effective and efficient healthcare.
- Local manufacturing capability is critical. With a population of 230 million, we cannot afford to rely on imports alone.
- Pakistan Pharma market is over 600 billion rupees, and this is just the retail segment, government and institutional purchases are not included. Putting all segments together shall take it to over 800 billion for pharmaceutical products only. Alternative medicines are a huge market and not included here.
- There are over 750 manufacturing companies, a large number of importing companies and marketing companies are also operating. The industry directly employs thousands of employees while indirectly it supports hundreds of thousands of people to earn their livelihood.
- Pharmaceutical industry provides decent, executive level jobs to aspiring candidates. It has been a source of good career making opportunity for many.
- Pharmaceutical industry is a constant source that provides updated information about drugs to medical community. In fact, for majority of practicing doctors, this is the only source of information.
- Pharmaceutical industry is the only sponsor that supports medical conferences in the country. Without the finances provided by the Pharma industry, the medical conferences would not take place. These conferences are important for sharing and receiving new developments in medicine.
- Pharma Industry is the only sponsor who makes it possible for doctors to attend international medical conferences. These are truly upgraded events and cost millions of rupees per person to attend. It would be well-nigh impossible for physicians to attend at their own cost. Pharma industry also takes care of logistics including visa, tickets, hotels, transfers etc. Being an industry, it has greater reach and clout to do so.
- Pharma industry provides free of cost drugs to doctors for trying and seeing the results. Formal, larger trials are also conducted by Pharma companies to prove efficacy, safety, compatibility, and comparability of their drugs. These trials are costly, but these generate valuable data about local population in local circumstances.
- Pharma industry has been running and still runs public service campaigns for the benefit of public. Some of these are for awareness about diseases, deficiencies, some are screening campaigns, some may be diagnostic, some others are for treatment. This is a huge support given by the industry.
- Generic Pharma industry have provided great relief to public by making drugs available at economical prices. Local Pharma has made its products available in every corner of the country, and at affordable prices.
- Local Pharma is in the forefront if unfortunately, any calamity, natural or man made happens. They donate free medicines and other relief goods.
- Local Pharma contributes to national exchequer heavily in the form of import duties, sales tax paid on procurement, income tax of corporate, and income tax deducted at source of its employees.
- Local Pharma is striving hard to export its products to several countries. Present export is around 250 million USD which is part of much needed foreign currency.
- Though there is hardly any relief for the exporting companies, the Local Pharma has been able to establish its quality against the formidable neighbor, India. Pakistani pharmaceutical products are rated higher in quality.
- Local Pharma has given tough competition to multinational companies and taken major share from them. The MNCs import materials and finished products at higher prices from their parent companies. Increase in Local Pharma share causes saving of foreign exchange.
- Local Pharma has gone into production of some APIs – Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients. It is already saving foreign exchange. As the volume and number of products increase, the saving would also increase.
- Local Pharma has improved its quality standards significantly, partly due to its own plan and partly due to coercion by regulators.
- Local Pharma Pakistan’s performance stands out when we compare it with the local pharma of countries like us. Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Central Asian States, and most countries of Africa are still heavily dependent on import to cater to their health needs.
- Local Pharma growth is robust, it is higher than the growth of MNCs, and it is continuing relentlessly.
These are all great news, however, there are plenty of woes also. We have discussed these in detail in relevant portions and we shall look at those briefly for summing up. Epilogue shall continue into next post.
To be Continued……
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