Karachi- Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has slapped various new and excessive charges on the pharmaceutical companies on the account of restructuring of drug industry despite of the fact that it (DRAP) failed to chalk out any strategy to facilitate medicine producers.
The DRAP has imposed undue charges on the pharmaceutical companies without any justification which will hurt ultimately the exports of pharmaceutical products of the country, resulting in loss of precious foreign exchange. The authority has introduced Rs 5,000 fee on the export certificate of pharmaceutical products which was earlier zero-rated. Besides, rebranding fees have been imposed at Rs 25,000 which was also free of cost few months ago.
In addition, the documentation requirement has been made extremely complicated for the pharmaceutical companies that will create problems for the exporters and cause delays to meet the orders to foreign countries timely.
The DRAP has also increased the prices of drug import license from Rs 250 to Rs 5,000 and the cost of capsule raw material has been increased to Rs 8,000 to Rs 250,000 for companies.
Kaiser Waheed, former chairman Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA), said the DRAP has not proved to be a competent body for the pharmaceutical industry but it has been working to destroy the crucial industry which ‘saves the lives of the masses’.
He added DRAP has received Rs 400 million from pharmaceutical companies on the account of various heads in the last two months of the interim government, which was sheer injustice for the sector which produces low cost drugs for the citizens of the country. The new charges will increase the burden of production cost over pharmaceutical producers which have kept the medicine prices unchanged since 2001. Resultantly many pharmaceutical industry have shut down their plants in last five years, PPMA leader said.
There has been no performance of DRAP witnessed by the industry stakeholders so far as the whole body has been facing a crisis situation at leadership level whereas the sub-ordinates and junior staff members are nothing to do with facilitations of pharmaceuticals companies.
The DRAP has just imposed fees on the drug producers but it has done nothing to facilitate them which is their actual role to regulate the market, carry out drugs registration and revise medicine prices on the assessment of raw material, Waheed said.
Since the formation of DRAP in October 2012, the authority has been dysfunctional because the officials are reluctant to perform their duties however the masses are facing hardship due to the shortage of medicines and availability of counterfeit drugs at retail level.
Waheed urged the new government that it should take immediate action and bring reforms including transparency and competency in the authority through honest and qualified staff.