90% Life-saving Drugs Produced Locally; NA Told


90% life-saving drugs produced locally; NA told

ISLANABAD(UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News -8th Sept,2016) : Parliamentary Secretary for National Health Services Dr Darshan Thursday informed the National Assembly that around 80 to 90 percent life-saving drugs are locally produced in the country.

During the question-hour, he said there are about 34 companies which are exporting their medicines to different countries. He said the pharmaceutical exports currently stands at Rs 200 million and efforts are being made to enhance the exports of the medicines.

He said it is for the first time that the government introduced a drug pricing policy in order to bring stability in the prices of medicines. He said that the term 'Lifesaving' is a vague expression/ slogan and is not defined or categorized under the Drug Act 1976.

However, he said, generally most drugs are categorized as life saving, depending upon its intended use especially in life threatening/critical indications. He said there are almost 1400 formulations including innovative and generic registered for local production and import.

He said around 380 medicines are classified as essential drug which mostly called life saving drug. The secretary said that around 10 to 15 percent of essential drugs are being imported in Pakistan out of the total registered drug.

He said that there are 600 manufacturing units in Pakistan which are manufacturing the essential and other drugs in Pakistan. Almost 359 are in Punjab, 140 in Sindh, 91 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwan and 11 in Balochistan and 5 in Azad Kashmir, he added.

He said the federal government is working in collaboration with the provinces to ensure quality of pharmaceutical products. He said Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan carried out 54 raids, with collaboration of FIA in the country during the tenure of present government to curb the menace of the spurious drugs.

This is in addition to unannounced sampling from market by Provincial and Federal drug inspectors during various inspections, he added There were about 723 spurious drugs found in raids or by sampling from inspection, he said adding mostly the spurious drugs found were expensive drugs, especially injection, antibiotic capsules, etc.

He said more than 6000 persons were caught and prosecuted, of these around 100 persons were involved in spurious drugs. He said around 80 percent of prosecuted persons have been convicted with various fines and impressments, the others are under prosecution.

Only in 2015, about Rs 71 million fines were imposed and impressments from five months to ten years were awarded by the courts, he added. The secretary said that the government is also pursing cases in the courts against the medicine companies.

He said price increase on hardship cases is allowed as per Drug Pricing Policy-2015 approved by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet. Under the Drug Pricing Policy-2015, he said, a manufacturer or importer can apply to the Authority, once in 3 years, for a review of MRP of any of its drug whose actual cost of manufacturing or import has reached a level where it is not viable to market it at the fixed price.

Accordingly, prices of 21 formulations of drugs, whose applications were complete as per the provisions of the Drug Pricing Policy-2015, were increased up to 8 percent except for Folic Acid where 13 paisa per tablet increase was allowed to make these life saving drug available in the market.

These drugs include anti-TB drugs, Folic Acid, antibiotics and Phenobarbitone Syrup, he added. He said National TB Control Programme Pakistan provides free of cost diagnostic and treatment services for Sensitive and Drug Resistant TB. However, he said financial assistance in the form of social support is provided only to Drug Resistant TB patients.