Bad to Worse: Medicine Shortage Likely Due to Rupee Devaluation

The pharmaceutical industry has forewarned of a severe shortage of life-saving medicines in the country as importers face billion-dollar losses due to the volatile rupee-dollar exchange rate.

In a letter to the Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), the Pakistan Chemists and Druggists Association (PCDA) revealed factors that have emerged as a result of the country’s ailing economy.

The Association said importers of finished pharmaceutical products have suffered a devastating blow as a result of the Pakistani Rupee’s (PKR) 78 percent depreciation since July 2020.

According to the letter, the PKR’s devaluation has been extremely critical, and there is no set formula or prediction for how the PKR will behave. Historically, the PKR has never retreated after setting a new high. Imported products, particularly general anesthesia, plasma-derived products, vaccines, oncology products, specialty hormones, and cardiac enzymes/heparin, have suffered significantly.

The PCDA said there would be a medical disaster in the absence of these products. These products are not locally manufactured, and they are 100 percent impacted by devaluation, it implored.

The pharma dealers have demanded that they be allowed to apply for hardship as needed. Because the importers are currently facing a Force Majeure situation, an across-the-board price must be allowed as temporary relief. Products that are no longer viable cannot be imported because they are no longer viable. Our members’ losses in public and private sector tenders are another reason they are unable to continue supplies, they added in the letter.

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