By Our Staff Reporter
KARACHI: Minister of State for Health Saira Afzal Tarar has said the basic challenge her ministry has been facing relating to Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) is transparency and the authorities in the ministry have to fix this issue.
Speaking at the 2nd Pakistan Pharma Summit held here under the aegis of Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA), the minister hoped that new blood coming into Drap would bring some positive changeswhile functioning as regulatory body for pharmaindustry. She said that her ministry after due authorization of the government would recruit some 2,000 employees and 60 interns to help improve working of pharmaceutical sector’s regulator.
Conceding that people currently associated with Drap lacked capacity to work in accordance with international regulatory standards, she said that though there were some very good people associated with Drap, working of the authority cannot be improved until its current mechanism of working and technology was changed.
She said that a project costing Rs145 million has been approved for upgrading the Drap’sCentral Drugs Laboratory for getting it accredited with World Health Organization (WHO).
The minister said the government had been planning to adopt a different mechanism for dealing with pharmaceutical industry’s plan of improving its infrastructure. “We can help them (drugs manufacturers) in exporting medicines, we can help them in pricing and even exempt them from a few inspections,” she vowed.
She said that Pakistan had phenomenal potential for doing quality drugs exports and the government would encourage and facilitate manufacturers in pharmaceutical sector in every aspect. She said the government would provide ease of doing manufacturing and business for exporting medicines.
Talking about national health sector’s indicators, the minister admitted that health indicators were a cause of collective shame for the country. She, however, said that government alone could not be held responsible for such a shameful situation as there has to be a sense of collective responsibility.
Speaking on the occasion, PPMA Chairman Hamid Raza said that revenues frompharmaceutical industry all over the world had reached one trillion dollars, while in year 2020, this revenue would reach US$1.6 trillion. He said that Pakistan pharmaceutical sector with US$03 billion sales volume accounted for 0.212 per cent of the global pharma industry.
He said that Pakistan was among 35 countries of the world, which had been fulfilling up to 90pc medicines’ requirements of their respective country. He said that pharmaceutical industry of the country had become largest employer of urban area graduates.
He said that the country’s pharma industry had massive potential for exporting medicines provided proper incentives, regulatory framework, and investment for infrastructural improvement and upgraded manufacturing facilities are provided to the industry.
The summit’s organising committee’s chairman, Dr Kaiser Waheed, said that although India is nowadays called `pharmacy of the world’, Pakistan with the provision of proper facilities and incentives could easily compete with the neighbouring country.
Drap’s chief executive officer,Dr Muhammad Aslam;CEO Getz Pharma Khalid Mehmood, an international expert on pharmaceutical sector Prof. Dr. Marcel Corstjens,MD-Indus PharmaZahidSaeed, CEO-SchazooZakaMian Muhammad Zaka-ur-Rehman, CEO-GSK SohailMatin, CEO-NabiQasim Industries Muhammad Ali Majid, MD-Martin Dow Tariq Wajid, MD-SanteTauqeerulHaq, MD-Searle Pakistan Nadeem Ahmed and CEO-OBS Tarek M. Khan and others also spoke on the occasion.