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Pharma industry

December 31, 2013

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OUR pharma industry is facing severe challenges like the breakdown of regulatory frameworks affecting the pricing policy and regulatory approvals, making it critical for companies to carefully assess ground realities as they think through future strategies in their pursuit of growth. The world around, in the meantime, has reached new the heights of sales growth.

The sale of medicines reached $1.08 trillion in 2011 — an increase of 7.8pc over the previous year’s — and may reach $1.5trn by 2020.

The emerging markets in the four BRIC countries (Brazil, China, India and Russia) were up by 22.6pc over the previous year’s, indicating that the real surge in growth will come from these emerging markets.

Most of the projected increase in revenues is expected to come from branded generics rather than innovator products.

The pharma industry could have been riding on the ground swell like its other developing world colleagues with a high burden of disease, economic growth leading to higher disposable incomes, and improvements in healthcare infrastructure in the domestic market, but alas that was not to be.

While there are some indications that the government is making efforts to put the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan’s house in order, perhaps it is time the companies considered the need to modify their business models and work on ideas that could serve them better in the existing and emerging public policy milieu.

The pharma industry would be served better if it invested in promoting the coverage of health insurance to include all those who presently have no institutional medical cover and increasing the scope of this coverage to also include outpatient expenses and drug-related expenditure.

The increase in public expenditure on drugs and provision of free essential medicines to all will give further impetus to the growth of the Pakistani pharma industry.

Ayyaz Kiani
Islamabad