KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan has admitted that the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has failed to support the Pakistani medicine industry in the required manner to boost the pharmaceutical exports for the benefit of the national economy.
The PM expressed his opinion to this effect as he met the Chairman of Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA), Tauqeer Ul Haq, during his recently concluded official visit to Uzbekistan. The PPMA Chairman was a part of the official delegation that accompanied the PM in the state visit.
While talking to the PPMA Chairman, the PM said that the DRAP’s incompetence was mainly because his government had not been able to find a competent chief to head the regulatory body for the medical sector in the country.
He said the DRAP had a major role in the present unsatisfactory situation that the medicine industry could not make the desired progress to enhance exports of drugs from the country.
Speaking on occasion, the PPMA chairman suggested that the government should give the powers to regulate the purely commercial affairs of the drug industry of Pakistan should be given to the Ministry of Commerce after withdrawing the same authority currently vested in the DRAP.
“Those in the DRAP are mainly pharmacists who have no understanding of the business and economic issues of the drug manufacturers as the Commerce Ministry should be made in charge of these affairs as has been the case of other industries in Pakistan,” said the PPMA Chairman on occasion.
He said the Commerce Ministry was the most appropriate arm of the state to deal with the purely commercial aspects of the pharmaceutical industry, including the pricing of medicines, as these affairs shouldn’t remain with the DRAP.
He said the DRAP officials had no understanding and experience of dealing with international trade and commerce. Still, yet they were the in-charge of import and export affairs of the pharma industry.
“Once the Ministry of Commerce becomes in charge of all these affairs, the medicine manufacturers would be in a position to increase drug exports of Pakistan to the US by one billion dollars in just two years,” the PPMA Chairman assured the PM.
Currently, the annual pharma exports of Pakistan is over $220 million.