Last modified on 10 July 2014, at 19:01

Pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan

The pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan has grown during the last few decades, almost entirely in the formulations space. At the time of the independence of Pakistan in 1947, there were few production units in the country. Currently Pakistan has about 400 low technology, large volume pharmaceutical formulation units including those operated by 25 multinationals present in the country. The Pakistan Pharmaceutical Industry meets around 70% of the country's demand of finished dosage forms and 4% of Active ingredients. Specialized finished dosage forms such as soft gelatin capsules, parenteral fat emulsions and Metered-dose inhalers continue to be primarily imported. There are only a few bulk drug Active ingredient producers.

The National pharma industry has shown growth over the years, particularly over the last one decade. The industry is trying to upgrade itself in the last few years and today the majority industry is following local Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) laws, with a few in accordance with international guidance. Currently the industry has the capacity to manufacture a variety of products ranging from simple pills to capsules, ointments and syrups.

The Pakistan pharma industry is relatively unknown in the international markets with an export turnover of US$100 Million as of 2007 as compared to US$9.5 Billion from neighbouring India.[1] Pakistan Pharma Industry has only a few quality producers approved by global regulatory authorities. Like domestic market the sales in international market have gone almost double during last five years. In the meantime, exports are also likely to be boosted by new regional and global opportunities. The pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan lacks basic research or development skills and no innovative[2] discoveries are reported.[3]

The value of pharmaceuticals sold nationwide exceeded US$1.4 B in 2007 and US$2.3 B in 2012. The value of medicines sold is expected to exceed US$3.2 B by 2014.[4] As of 2013, the total export value of Pakistani-manufactured medicines around the world stood at $500 million.[4] Many different companies sell a diverse range of drugs and pharmaceutical products. There is scope for growth as Pakistan ranks a low 188th on per capita health expenditure[5] while smuggled pharmaceuticals from India through Afghanistan remain a threat.

Today, the pharmaceutical sector is one of the better developed sectors within the country's economy. New pharmacy schools have been set up nationwide in the past few years which provide and cater to quality pharmacy education to students of pharmacy. Within the province of Punjab, the Punjab Pharmacy Council (based in Lahore) is a government department responsible for conducting examination and tests.

The Pakistan Pharmacists Society is the national professional organisation of pharmacists country-wide and also acts as a regulatory authority controlling pharmacy practice in Pakistan.[6] Pharmaceutical authorities in Pakistan are part of the International Pharmaceutical Federation.

Many pharmaceutical industries are operating in Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar & other main industrial hubs of Pakistan

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