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Pharma exports to get more booster shots: minister

Pharma exports to get more booster shots: minister

ISLAMABAD: Saira Afzal Tarar, Minister for National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination, on Friday said major reforms in drug regulation, introduced over the last three years, proved to be shots in the arm for Pakistani pharmaceutical exports, which registered a heartening growth in the aforementioned period.

“For the first time in the country’s history barcodes are being introduced for all medicine packs. It will put Pakistan’s pharmaceutical products in the list of countries, where such items are coded in line with international best practices,” Ms Tarar disclosed, while speaking at “1st Pakistan Pharma Export Seminar.”

“This development will not only help make quality drugs available to ailing patients but also eradicate the menace of spurious drugs on top of boosting exports of pharmaceutical products.”

Ms Tarar said the national pharmaceutical industry was a collateral partner of Drug Regulatory Authority (DRAP) and ministry of health in achieving their targets, while effectively meeting the major medicine needs of domestic as well as export quality products to about 40 countries.

“I am aware that industry is still facing some problems in some of the areas but the DRAP and the health ministry are committed to resolve them on priority,” the minister said adding her department had successfully addressed many problems weighing on the pharmaceutical exports over the years.

Going ahead, she revealed that the DRAP’s registration board had decided to grant one molecule as out-of-queue to a manufacturer having an export value of $100,000. “I have been informed that for this purpose, preliminary work has been completed and the board will consider these products from the forthcoming meeting,” said she.

She said that another important development is that Pakistan was moving towards World Health Organisation (WHO) prequalification of Central Drug Laboratory Karachi and after its accreditation, the testing reports would have international acceptance as well and will facilitate for export.

He added the DRAP had also started process for Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S) membership. “Once achieved, it will definitely improve the level of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) auditing by the DRAP.

The minister stressed that another fact was that almost all of our pharmaceutical companies (except few) are still exporting to lease or semi regulated /low priced market and have not been able to enter into stringent regulated/high priced market.

“For this purpose, they need to improve facilities, expertise and practices on one hand and at same time they must perform intensive marketing campaigns to catch stringent and high value markets,” she advised the drugmakers.

The seminar, organised by Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) in collaboration with the DRAP, was widely attended by management /professionals of pharmaceutical industries and government officials.

Khawaja Imran Nazir, Minister Primary & Secondary Health, and Dr Muhammad Aslam, CEO DRAP, also graced the event with their presence.  The PPMA was represented by Dr Shaikh Kaiser Waheed, Chairman PPMA, Dr Muhammad Tahir Azam, Senior Vice Chairman PPMA, and Hamid Raza, Chairman Export Committee PPMA.