Pharma industry demands tax-free zones

LAHORE - Despite numerous challenges, being  faced by the pharmaceutical industry, the Punjab province contributes 60 per cent share to pharma industry of the country.

This was stated by Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association (PPMA) Punjab Chairman Haseeb Khan, while talking to APP here on Sunday.

He demanded for setting up of tax-free zones not only in the Punjab province but also in the entire country so that investors could be attracted to invest in the sector.

Pointing out the challenges, facing the industry in the province, he said that amendments to the Drug Act 76 by the previous government, establishment of a task force, imposition of tax on import of raw material for medicines, establishment of provincial drug regulatory authority and inspection of pharma units were some of the big hurdles in developing and promoting the pharmaceutical industry in the province. He said that different laws in different provinces also hit provincial harmony as well.

He said that when all matters relating to drugs pricing, registration and licensing were handled by the Drug Regulatory Authority of the federal government, then what was the reason for amendments to the Drug Act 1976 and provincial interference through task force and provincial drug regulatory authority.

He said that only selling matters of the pharma industry could be checked by the drug inspectors of the provincial governments. However, he said that due to time and again demands, many favourable amendments had been made to the Drug Act 2018.

He said that 90 per cent of the raw material for  manufacturing medicines had been imported from China, India and European countries and tax on its import should be withdrawn to bring down the drug prices.

He dispelled the impression that prices of medicines were high in Pakistan as compared to other countries in  the region, adding that despite 10 per cent availability of raw material locally, the prices of the locally prepared medicines were less than multi-national companies.

Meanwhile, former chairman of the PPMA Punjab, Hamid Khan, while commenting on the issue regarding the impediments to the growth of the pharmaceutical industry, he said the government should make the licensing process of pharma industry and its brands easier besides withdrawal of tax on import of raw material so that the pharma industry could grow not only in the province but also in the whole country.


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