No new drug policy would be framed and implemented without consultation of stakeholders: Awan

Lahore, June 29, 2012 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for National Regulations and Services Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has said that no new drug related policy would be framed and implemented without due consultation of stakeholders including pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The Federal Minister was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday. LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh presented the Address of Welcome while LCCI Senior Vice president Kashif Younis Meher, Vice President Saeeda Nazar, former LCCI Presidents Iftikhar Ali Malik, Mian Misbahur Rehman and pharma sector representatives including Khawaja Shahzeb Akram, Mian Asad Shujaur Rehman, Amjad Ali Jawa and Asad Ejaz Mumtaz also spoke on the occasion.

The Federal Minister said that the Ministry is working on the formation of new laws to govern alternative medicines including Herbal medicines. Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the government is working to ensure all facilities to the masses but it was equally aware of the challenges being faced by the private sector, particularly the pharmaceutical manufacturers.

She said that the pharmaceutical sector registered phenomenal 19 per cent growth this year that is way ahead than any other sector therefore government would encourage new investments in this particular area.

She, however, asked the drug manufacturers to devise and submit a ‘pricing formula’ for medicines keeping in view the interests of all stakeholders, particularly consumers. She maintained that the government would approve a “balanced formula” that should take care of interests of producers and end consumers keeping in view the rate of inflation in the country and prices in international market.

The government realises the importance of pharmaceutical industry worth $2 billion which is providing employment opportunities to four million skilled workers in the country, she said adding the multinational pharmaceutical companies are contributing enormously in terms of ensuring availability of quality drugs.

She said there was a huge potential to attract more foreign investment in the pharmaceutical sector. The ministry, she said, would strive to provide an enabling environment so that existing companies can plan expansion while new companies could be attracted, resulting in more foreign investments.

She said the government has taken various steps on regulatory front during the last couple of months. She said that all backlog and pending issues due to non-functioning of authority are in the process of being cleared over the next few days.

The Minister urged the pharmaceutical manufacturers to introduce the culture of self accountability and transparency. Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI president Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that the new regulations being framed should be low cost, easy to comply with and smart.

He said that every one knows that pharma industry in Pakistan has exceptionally developed over the period of time. But, it is a sorry state of affair that drug regulations are hampering the potential growth of this sector. It was good step to establish Drug Regulatory Agency of Pakistan (DRAP) but still it is not functioning properly.

The LCCI President said that the issue of undue delays in getting new drug licenses or even renewal of old licenses needs government attention. The LCCI came to know that almost 14,000 drug registration applications are pending. Many pharma companies want to enhance the ambit of their licenses but they cannot proceed further till they get approval from DRAP.

He said drug price control is another important issue that should be resolved because of prevalent inflation in Pakistan which is in double digits for quite some time. “It has also been observed that regular meetings of Licensing Board, Regulatory Board and Pricing Board are not being held. We believe that many issues may be resolved once these boards start performing actively.”

For more information, contact:
Shahid Khalil
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
11-Shahrah-e-Aiwan-e-Tijarat,
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +9242 111 222 499
Fax: +92 42 636 8854

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