The Pharmaceutical industry of Pakistan has said that as the foremost national duty it will do its best to ensure availability of essential medicines required in the country to deal with the Coronavirus health emergency but for this the industry required best of assistance from the relevant state and government institutions. The office-bearers of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA)-being the representative body of the medicines’ producers in the country-expressed views to this effect while addressing a press conference here at Press Club on Wednesday.
The PPMA office-bearers said that the manufacturers of medicines as being an important stakeholder of the health sector was fully ready to lend whatever support is required by the state authorities, federal and provincial governments to deal with the present Coronavirus health emergency. Speaking on the occasion, the PPMA Senior Vice-Chairman Syed Farooq Bukhari said that the drugs’ manufacturers in the country were fully ready to play their due part in the nationwide efforts being rendered to combat the Coronavirus epidemic in the country while considering it as their solemn national obligation.
He said that in view of the global economic slowdown in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic, certain emergency steps and relief measures were required so that the pharmaceutical industry continued with its functioning to maximum production capacity. He said that relevant state and government institutions should ensure provision of raw material to the pharmaceutical industry for uninterrupted manufacturing of medicines to treat the patients of Coronavirus and other epidemics in the country. The PPMA senior vice-chairman demanded that the US Dollar-Rupee parity should be fixed at Rs 155 for all the consignments being imported for the normal functioning of the pharmaceutical industry in the country.
He said all the relevant government agencies should ensure that clearance process of all the consignments of the pharmaceutical industry at all stages should continue round-the-clock while all the relevant institutions should also work for expediting clearance of the goods related to drug manufacturers. He urged the federal government to withdraw levy of all duties, sales tax, and surcharges on clearance of goods at the shipping ports of the country. He said that interest cost on the bank loans obtained by the pharmaceutical industry should be waived for a period of three months starting from 15th March, 2020.
Mr. Bukhari said that the government should arrange special operation of cargo planes to China for emergency airlifting of the raw material required for the medicines’ manufacturing in Pakistan. He said that such emergency airlifting of the raw material for the pharmaceutical industry was required as globally transfer and shipment of goods had been severely affected due to travel and movement restrictions in place as parts of the worldwide efforts to slow down the transmission of Coronavirus.
The office-bearers of the PPMA said that apart from the continuous production to its fullest capacity, the pharmaceutical industry of the country was also ready to provide whatever assistance the government required from it to fight against the Coronavirus outbreak in the country. They said that the medicines’ producers would also continue with their best practices in the arena of drug research and development so to play its due role in the national efforts being rendered to counter the current health emergency due to the viral outbreak.
Others who spoke on the occasion included PPMA Zonal Chairman South Iqbal Ahmad, Dr Kaiser Waheed, and Zahid Saeed, who both are the former central chairman of PPMA.