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Pharmas ask govt to immediately allow across-the-board adjustment in prices of medicines

04:30 PM | 11 Feb, 2023
Pharmas ask govt to immediately allow across-the-board adjustment in prices of medicines

LAHORE – Pharmaceutical companies operating in Pakistan have called upon the government to immediately allow across-the-board price adjustment to deal with the impact of a massive currency devaluation and inflation.

The situation is quite disappointing for the pharmaceutical companies, which are finding it difficult to continue producing lifesaving medicines in the current conditions as input costs have witnessed a manifold increase due to devaluation of the Pakistani rupee and increase in the prices of raw materials globally.

“If this situation persists it will be detrimental for companies,” said Osman Khalid Waheed, Chief Executive Officer, Ferozsons Laboratories Limited.

He added that these companies are vital for the country as they not only produce specialist medicines like oncology drugs, critical care and life saving medicines; but bring innovation and investment to the country. Yet the current circumstances are beyond the control of the pharmaceutical industry and it has become completely unsustainable to manufacture medicines and ensure their availability.

Similarly, Umar Masood, General Manager/ Chief Executive Officer Chiesi Pakistan, said that the industry has been asking the Government to take a realistic approach, while increasing petroleum, electricity, wages and other input costs it completely ignores to adjust pharmaceutical prices which makes it non viable for the industry to continue production.

Representing the multinational pharmaceutical companies PB Executive director informed that Bureau has written a letter to the Federal Health Minister, Ministry’s Secretary, and Chief Executive of Drug Regulatory Authority and requested to engage the cabinet and ensure that the pharmaceutical industry should be allowed an increase in the drug prices.

“We are all aware of the terrible economic conditions in Pakistan. This has impacted every single segment of the economy resulting in a massive devaluation of the Pakistan rupee, runaway inflation and a huge shortage of foreign exchange.

“All this has a disastrous impact on the local pharmaceutical industry which relies on the import of raw materials to manufacture product in Pakistan and ensure the uninterrupted availability of medicines in the country,” stated Executive Director PB Ayesha T Haq.

As you are aware, the letter added, prices of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients i.e. raw material used in the manufacture of drugs, have increased exponentially in the international markets since the outbreak of the Corona Virus pandemic.

“This coupled with unprecedented increases in all the factors of production like fuel, electricity, freight and packing materials and the massive recent devaluation, over 67 percent, of the Rupee against the United States Dollar,” stated the letter.

The letter further stated that the pharmaceutical industry has, at significant cost to itself, played a very responsible pivotal, patient centric role during the many public health crises and disasters facing the country by ensuring the uninterrupted supply of life saving medicines.

“None of this is sustainable and in order to ensure the viability of the industry the Pharma Bureau, together with other representative industry bodies including the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have continuously and repeatedly engaged with and requested the Federal Government and DRAP to take this matter seriously and to take all measures necessary to ensure the continuous and uninterrupted supply of medicines: including but not limited to an across-the-board-price adjustment,” stated the letter.  

We have also, she added, for the past 22 years drawn the attention of the government towards the fact that impeding the growth in the pharmaceutical industry would have one critical effect; the denial of access of patients and the public at large to safe, efficacious and affordable medicines.

“The impact on the public and the industry cannot be underscored. Several of our member companies have, as a result of this apathetic attitude of the government, shut down their operations in Pakistan.

“This means the withdrawal of foreign direct investment, massive job losses following the closure of plants and, as our member companies are completely documented, huge losses in taxes and other revenue to the federal and provincial governments,” stated the letter.  

The Executive Director PB stated that the pharma industry in Pakistan is over-regulated and as a result is not being able to function and do business and conduct itself as a business in accordance with the fundamental right to do business guaranteed under Article 18 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973.

The letter mentioned that the Rupee has been devaluing at an alarming rate and in the past 5 weeks alone it has fallen by approximately fifty rupees against the United States Dollar.

Furthermore, the Consumer Price Index has been steadily rising and in January it rose 27.6 % compared to the same period last year.

“Despite all our representations to the government, meetings with the Prime Minister and members of Cabinet absolutely nothing has been done to deal with the matter.

“This complete and frightening apathy on the part of the Government and the DRAP will only result in the industry being forced to shut down production, which will result in massive shortages in the market,” warned the PB.

Meanwhile, manufacturers also reflected on this grave situation as it will result in an opportunity for counterfeiters and smugglers for black marketing of drugs which will not only endanger patient lives but also further degrade the economy.

The author is working as Editor Digital Media for Daily Pakistan and can be reached @ItsSarfrazAli.

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Currency Rates in Pakistan Today - Pak Rupee to US Dollar, Euro, Dirham, Riyal 23 May 2024

Pakistani currency rates against US Dollar and other currencies on May 23, 2024 (Thursday) in open market.

USD to PKR rate today

US dollar was being quoted at 277.25 for buying and 280.25 for selling.

Euro moved down to 297 for buying and 300 for selling while British Pound rate is 349.5 for buying, and 353 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.2 and Saudi Riyal came down to 73.45.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 23 May 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 08:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar ‎USD 277.25 280.25
Euro EUR 297 300
UK Pound Sterling GBP 349.5 353
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.2 75.95
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.45 74.2
Australian Dollar AUD 183 184.8
Bahrain Dinar BHD 740.52 748.52
Canadian Dollar CAD 203 205
China Yuan CNY 38.51 38.91
Danish Krone DKK 40.52 40.92
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.68 36.03
Indian Rupee INR 3.34 3.45
Japanese Yen JPY 1.91 1.99
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 903.3 912.3
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 59.39 59.99
New Zealand Dollar NZD 170.11 172.11
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.92 26.22
Omani Riyal OMR 723.46 731.46
Qatari Riyal ‎QAR 76.42 77.12
Singapore Dollar SGD 203 205
Swedish Korona SEK 26.02 26.32
Swiss Franc CHF 305.97 308.47
Thai Bhat THB 7.67 7.82

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