PAKISTAN has over 750 pharmaceutical manufacturers but still our exports are low and many medicines are not available. The reason is the pharmaceutical cartel consisting of a handful of companies which create unfair business advantages for themselves with the help of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).
Two methods they use for their benefit include having sole manufacturing licence for popular medicines like panadol CF and Arinac.
DRAP refuses to register these products to local pharmaceuticals on various excuses while allowing a few to have a monopoly.
Another method they use which is clearly against competitive practices is to have the retail prices for their products 10 times higher than everyone else. DRAP uses the excuse of allowing the high price for multinational companies but it makes 730 companies suffer.
To stop these practices, DRAP needs to adopt the policy of allowing the same retail price for every company and let them compete.
Similarly, DRAP should allow every product to be registered by any company and any hindrance should be reported to ministry of health and ministry of industries.
Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2020