Markets will soon face shortage of 150 lifesaving drugs, warn Pharma Cos

Recent tax rate increase

| pharmaceutical companies stop importing raw material after increase in tax rate
| 40 basic lifesaving drugs have already disappeared from market | DRAP Inspection teams monitoring shortage of medicines, says CEO

Pharma companies want govt to withdraw 1pc sales tax and refund 17pc deducted sales tax imposed by previous govt


Islamabad   -  A severe shortage of lifesaving drugs is feared as the pharmaceutical companies have stopped importing raw material for their products due to recent increase in tax rate, The Nation learnt on Friday.

At least 40 basic lifesaving drugs have already disappeared from the market.

Pharmaceutical companies warned authorities if the government did not address their issues, there would be a shortage of 150 life saving medicines.

Talking to The Nation, Qazi Mansoor Dilawar, the Chairman Pharmaceutical Companies confirmed that the drug manufacturers had reservations over imposition of new taxes on raw material for medicines. “Pharma companies want the government to lift one percent sales tax and refund 17 percent deducted sales tax imposed by the previous government,” he said.

Qazi claimed that with one percent tax, the pharma companies, with a market of Rs 700 billion, end up paying Rs 70 billion tax money.

“Our cost, eventually, would increase after these taxes,” he said. He said tariff for energy, raw material, packaging and salary cost had already increased rendering the industry economically unviable.

According to details provided by different companies and retailers 40 lifesaving drugs have already disappeared from the market.

Qazi said the pharma industry had decided not to import raw materials being used for producing drugs owing to GST imposition.

The drugs unavailable in the market include Alp tablet used for anti-depression, Dexamethasone for asthma, cancer and joint pain, Epitab for epilepsy, Nervin for depression, Epival, Fexet D, Nitronal, Ventoline tablets and injections. Moreover, Epival In, Myrin P, Ketasol Inj, Loprin, Silver tab, phenergen Elixir, Tixylix Lincitilus, Chlooriptics Drops, systane drops, Rivotril drops, Dormicum tablets, Winstor, Tritace, Sodamint, Schazobutil, Jardymet and Brufen. Lomotil, Panadol, Tan Primolut B, Progynova, Stilnix, Glucobay,Zentel, Avor, Gravibinan, Syp Gaviscom, Lipofundin and Sorbid Injection are also found missing in the market. Pharma industry appealed to the federal government to withdraw 17 percent GST on raw materials to protect the industry and the patients.

Dr Asim Rauf, DRAP CEO told The Nation that DRAP Inspection teams were monitoring shortage of medicines and properly maintaining data on daily basis. He claimed that the shortage had occurred due to the disruption in supply chain.

He said Epival medicine would be available in the market by next week.

“Rest of the lifesaving medicines are already available in the market, he claimed. The government has already reduced sales tax on raw material imports from 17 percent to 1 percent. There was no point of threatening shortage of medicines by manufacturers, he said. He said these were pressure tactics used by manufacturers to fulfill their unjustified demands.

Spokesperson from ministry of health Sajid Shah was unaware of medicine crisis when asked about the shortage of medicines. “Please don’t panic. All medicines are available in the market,” he said.

Whereas people not only in twin cities but also in rest of the country are facing severe issues regarding availability of lifesaving drugs.

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