ISLAMABAD: The pharmaceutical indu­stry on Thursday agreed to partially resume the production of paracetamol after the manufacturers of the local active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) decided to reduce the cost of raw materials by 10 per cent.

The development came after a meeting between representatives of the pharma industry and Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel who managed to “convince” the industry to resume the production of the drug, though partially.

The meeting was attended by the government representatives and manufacturers of paracetamol whereas Pakistan Pharma­ceutical Manufacturers Association head Qazi Mansoor Dilawar took part as an observer.

An official of the health ministry, wishing not to be named, said that Mr Patel requested the paracetamol manufacturers, especially GlaxoSmithKline which owns 80 per cent market share, to resume production of the medicine. “However, the stakeholders said that they were already facing a loss of Re1 per tablet and it was not possible for them to continue the production unless there was an increase in the price of the drug,” the official said.

Settlement reached after API manufacturers ‘voluntarily’ cut raw materials’ prices by 10pc

Mr Patel, however, rejected the demand.

Reduction in API cost

In order to break the impasse, the API manufacturers agreed to reduce the cost of raw materials by 10pc and convinced the companies to resume the production of paracetamol, said the official familiar with details of the meeting. “The stakeholders subsequently agreed to partially resume the production of paracetamol and said that full production will be started only after the increase in the price,” the official said.

PPMA Central Executive Committee Member Usman Shaukat, while talking to Dawn, said the industry decided to lend support to the people by “voluntarily reducing the local API prices”. “We need the government to step up and resolve the issues of the industry for its long-term survival and availability of medicines,” he suggested.

Later, PPMA Chairman Dilawar said: “During the meeting, I had also requested the companies, which have stopped production, to resume the production as a sadaqah jariyah [charity]… I said that productions should be started even if companies have been facing financial loss.”

“The API producers announced to decrease the price of raw material by 10pc and stakeholders including GSK, which has 80pc market share, announced to start partial production,” he added.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2022

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