Pills line the shelves in the pharmacy at Venice Family Clinic in Los Angeles. – Reuters
Pills line the shelves in a clinic. – Reuters (File Photo)

LAHORE, Oct 18: The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) announced here on Thursday that all contract manufacturers in pharmaceutical industry have been given legal cover, and their validity has been extended till the announcement of a new policy due on Dec 31.

“The government is considering introducing a uniform drug pricing policy to maintain uniformity in the prices of same products being manufactured by various firms,” said DRAP Chief Executive Officer Arshad Farooq Fahim while speaking to pharmaceutical manufacturers at a meeting in Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday.

He said that as many as 14,000 applications for registration are pending and the process has been expedited to resolve issues pertaining to registration of products and renewal of licences.

Revision of new fee structure for fresh registration, import licence and contract manufacturing for export purpose has been put off till a mutual understanding between stakeholders and the DRAP, he said and assured his full cooperation in resolving all issues being faced by the pharmaceutical industry.

Earlier, LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar spoke about shortage of medicines and stressed the need for accelerating the process of registration of new drugs.

He also said that before granting MFN status to India practical measures be taken for address pharmaceutical sector’s reservations.

PPMA Pakistan chairman Javaid Akhai proposed that to ensure swift disposal of pending registration applications, a committee be set up to hold frequent meetings to discuss and approve applications and subsequently registration letters of approved products be issued immediately.

“If required, post facto approval of Drug Registration Board can be sought for applications approved by the committee. If the proposal is accepted, backlog of pending registration applications can be cleared within three to four months and the credit of this achievement will go to DRAP, said Mr Akhai.

He said that it has been the long outstanding demand of our local industry to devise and implement one molecule — one price policy. However, no concrete steps could be taken till todate towards this direction.

Unprecedented increase in cost of utilities, power shortages, increase in minimum wages, law and order situation, depreciation of rupee have led to a sharp increase in the cost of production.

It is, therefore, requested that one molecule — one price policy may kindly be formulated in close coordination with PPMA at the earliest.

He also urged the DRAP to frame vitamin policy at the earliest as registration of multivitamins was not being granted to applicant companies which was against their constitutional rights.

Owing to vacuum so created, the market is flooded with herbal and so-called nutritional products of suspect quality which had been playing havoc with the health of general public. He said that one-window operation be started to address export related issues.

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