The local pharmaceutical industry has warned that the availability of medicines beyond the next seven days period is not possible as the industry has become completely unsustainable to manufacture medicines.
According to a letter from the pharmaceutical industry to the Ministry of Health Services, Regulation and Coordination and Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), the local pharmaceutical industry is heavily dependent on the import of raw materials, in order to ensure uninterrupted availability of medicines in the country.
The letter said the pharmaceutical industry suffered a devastating blow as prices of the active pharmaceutical ingredients i.e. raw materials used in the manufacturing of drugs increased exponentially in the international market since the outbreak of Covic-19. Simultaneously, factors of production like the cost of fuel, electricity, freight charges, and packing material witnessed an unprecedented increase during the same period.
It said that in order to avert an imminent catastrophe, the pharmaceutical industry continuously and repeatedly requested and implored the federal government and DRAP to take appropriate, concrete, and remedial measures by inter alia allowing inflationary adjustments in the maximum retail prices of medicines, which if not addressed would result in the collapse of the local pharmaceutical industry.
The industry pointed out that the federal government and the DRAP have failed to take any measures whatsoever to protect the public and remedy the ongoing situation, which has resulted in the collapse of the pharmaceutical industry as it is unable to ensure further production of safe, efficacious, and qualitative therapeutic goods at reasonable prices.
The letter said the situation has further aggravated as the Pakistani Rupee has devalued by approximately 26 percent against the US Dollar since July 2022. Most importantly, since the beginning of 2023, it has depreciated by approximately Rs. 50 against the US Dollar.
Furthermore, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 27.6 percent in the month of January compared to the same period last year.
The industry said that the complete apathy of the federal government and the DRAP in failing to take any remedial steps has resulted in a force majeure being triggered in respect of the pharmaceutical industry’s obligations to ensure uninterrupted availability of medicines in the local market, which as a result of the aforementioned situation, has now become impossible.
In view of the foregoing and being compelled and constrained by the circumstances beyond the control of the pharmaceutical industry, it has become completely unsustainable to manufacture medicines and ensure their availability beyond the next 7 days, the industry added.