The Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA) has urged the federal government to immediately review its policy to impose a 17 percent General Sales Tax (GST) on raw materials used for medicine production in the country to avoid a shortage of essential drugs in the local markets.
The demand to this effect was made by the participants of an emergency general body meeting of the PPMA chaired by its Central Chairman, Qazi Mansoor Dilawar. Drug manufacturers from Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi attended the meeting via video-link facility.
While chairing the meeting, PPMA Chairman said that the Pakistani pharmaceutical industry duly fulfilled up to 85 percent needs of medicines required to treat patients in the country. He said that Pakistan also exported medicine to 52 different countries as the Pakistani pharmaceutical industry had gained this status after much hard work.
He mentioned that prices of locally produced medicines in Pakistan were relatively lower than the drug prices in many regional countries. He said that the present status and international recognition gained by the medicine industry of Pakistan could be ruined if it had to comply with the regime of GST all of a sudden.
Other participants of the meeting suggested that as the last resort they should recommend to the government to charge the GST from the end-consumers of the medicines in the country as sales tax was a consumer tax. They recommended to the government that GST should be levied at the stage of the purchase and not at the time of consumption of raw material for streamlining the taxation process.
The meeting decided to form a nine-member committee under the PPMA Chairman to run a proper campaign using the media to keep the masses informed about the hardships of drug manufacturers due to the sudden imposition of the GST regime.
Other members of the committee include Arshad Mehmood, Usman Shaukat, Dr. Sheikh Kaiser Waheed, Zahid Saeed, Ehsan Naseer Awan, Dr. Faisal Q Khokkar, Asad Shuja-ur-Rehman, and Khalid Misbah Ur Rehman.
Over 100 PPMA members attended the meeting, including the FPCCI Acting President, Khawaja Shahzeb Akram.