KARACHI: The Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) has warned the federal government that any decision to stop importing pharmaceutical raw materials from India will weaken the country’s ability to fight the corona virus.
The warning against this effect came when PPMA office bearers spoke at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Monday.
PPMA representatives urge the federal government to proceed with the regulation of imports of existing pharmaceutical raw materials. Any decision to disrupt the international supply chain related to Pakistan’s pharmaceutical industry will reduce the ability of the country’s medical practitioners to handle the Covid-19 case, they added.
Speaking on the occasion, PPMA Senior Deputy Chairperson Syed Farooq Bukhari said that imports of pharmaceutical raw materials from India or from other countries were carried out under a well-regulated regime overseen by the Pakistan Drug Regulatory Authority and other relevant state agencies.
“We are in a state of virtual war against Covid-19 whose cases have increased in Pakistan because the pharmaceutical industry is the backbone of the national apparatus that is placed to fight the threat of the coronavirus virus,” he said.
He said that important input from the pharmaceutical industry must remain available to drug manufacturers so that there is no shortage of important medicines in the country during the current health emergency.
“Since the first day of anti-coronavirus locking in the country, the pharmaceutical industry has done its best to continue its production so that there is no shortage of medicines during the ongoing health crisis,” he said.
A senior PPMA official said that the federal cabinet should not make any decisions on the import of pharmaceutical raw materials from India or from other countries when there is an uncontrolled increase in Covid-19 patients in the country.
“It is unfortunate that the federal and provincial governments in this country have been in the process of establishing more and more quarantine centers, isolation facilities, and special hospital wards to accommodate the Covid-19 case but along with this we also need a constant supply of essential drugs for treating coronavirus patients, “he said.
“For this, it is mandatory that Pakistan’s pharmaceutical industry must continue its operations at full capacity because for this we need a constant supply of raw materials from our international clients,” he said.
Bukhari said that the federal cabinet must be aware that raw materials for medicines are being imported from India under a regulated and well-supervised regime given the constant needs of the pharmaceutical industry.
The decision was taken last year to allow imports of pharmaceutical raw materials from India due to the fact that if there were no such arrangements there would be an acute shortage of essential medicines on the market or their prices would double. There is also an opportunity for the emergence of a black market for medicines if regular imports of raw materials from neighboring countries are stopped, he said.
He said that very few of the finished drugs were imported from India because they were included in the category of life-saving drugs including vaccines needed in the country to treat life-threatening situations including dog and snake bites.
Imports of pharmaceutical raw materials from India are being carried out under SRO No. 429 which was approved by both the Ministry of Commerce and the National Health Service, he said.
The PPMA office bearers appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan and his special assistant at the National Health Service not to make any decisions on the import of therapeutic goods from India or from other countries given the very critical situation of Covid-19 in Pakistan. .
Important drugs are also constantly needed to treat other infectious and deadly diseases in the country during this national emergency, they said.
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