KARACHI   -   The Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA) has expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Imran Khan for his consideration and advising the relevant authorities that the drug makers would get an extended exemption from taxes and duties and will be given more economic incentives like other zero-rated industries in the country to boost the exports.

This was discussed as the PPMA’s newly elected chairman Tauqeer Ul Haq recently met Prime Minister Imran Khan as a part of the delegation having representatives of other industries as well. Sindh Governor Imran Ismail arranged the meeting, which was also attended by Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr Reza Baqar, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue Javed Ghani, and Advisor to PM on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razzak Dawood.

In a press statement, Chairman PPMA Tauqeer Ul Haq said that on his recommendation the PM promptly advised the concerned authorities to extend this relief and incentives to the pharmaceutical sector to make it a prominent export-oriented industry in the country.

Haq, during his interaction with the PM, said that the annual export of medicines from Pakistan at present stood at USD 300 million with only 15 to 20 companies producing the drugs for the international markets.

He said that medicines’ export would phenomenally increase with the right incentives from the government as upgrading and improvement of the drug making units are constantly required to meet the criteria of international regulatory regime related to the pharmaceutical sector.

These incentives include exemption from duties and taxes on import of machinery and loan facility from the State Bank on easy terms for expansion of the drug manufacturing units to enable them to produce medicines for other countries.

The chairman PPMA also expressed gratitude to the PM for accepting his recommendation that a proper policy and incentive package should be announced by the government for indigenous production of the raw material for the pharmaceutical industry.

He said the required incentive package including the designation of an economic zone for this purpose would enable Pakistan to produce raw material of medicines locally. This would end the dependency of Pakistan to import raw material of drugs from India and other countries that is not suitable for the national economy.

Haq said that he also requested the PM to streamline the functioning of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) along with the appointment of a permanent CEO of the DRAP so that a meaningful role can be played in the expansion, upgrading, and growth of the pharmaceutical industry.

He said that a timely increase in the drug prices according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) - linked formula would enable the drug makers to ensure the availability of medicines particularly the life-saving drugs and it will also help to introduce new medicines for effective treatment of patients of various diseases in the country.