Punjab Faces Shortage of Life-Saving Medicines Due to High Sales Tax

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Punjab is facing a severe shortage of dozens of life-saving medicines, with the pharmaceutical companies blaming the imposition of heavy sales tax on the raw material of drugs for the shortage.

According to details, the medicines for asthma, fever, cancer, hepatitis, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, blood pressure, lung infection, mental health disorders, headaches, body aches, and a number of other diseases are unavailable in the province.

Medical stores all over the province are only providing a limited quantity of more than 40 life-saving medicines to customers despite them showing prescriptions for a higher quantity.

Earlier this year in March, the Finance Ministry had imposed a 17% sales tax on active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used in the manufacturing of medicines.

Back then, Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) had threatened to shut down more than 600 factories in case the Finance Ministry failed to abolish the exorbitant tax.

Last week, PPMA had also warned of a severe shortage of medicines in the country in case the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) failed to reimburse sales tax refunds worth Rs. 40 billion to pharmaceutical manufacturers on a fast-track basis.

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