LAHORE: Pakistan’s pharmaceutical manufacturers are losing their export markets to the Indian industry and this lack of competitive advantage is blamed on the government’s indifference to the toll manufacturing arrangement.
The domestic industry has urged authorities to allow pharma companies to optimise production and bring down manufacturing costs by subcontracting drug manufacturing to other companies for at least 10 years.
Under toll manufacturing, a third party, like national companies, often manufacture drugs for multinational firms, which is the most effective way to save costs without compromising on the quality of drugs, according to industry players.
Toll manufacturing has been a very critical factor in contributing to the gross domestic product, national income and job creation for thousands of people across the country.
According to the pharma industry, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) is currently issuing licences for toll manufacturing for two years only and these are also required to be renewed every three months.
The practice had been adopted by Drap by violating its own, recently defined policies, which was creating hurdles in the way of companies’ functioning, it said, adding drug companies could not manufacture their products while waiting for the renewal of licences, which was a cumbersome and lengthy process.
“This prevents the manufacturing companies from making long-term plans for investments and exports,” the industry said. “This way, Pakistani firms are losing to Indian players because restrictions on toll manufacturing prevent them from achieving lower costs.”