Pakistan’s pharmaceutical industry received a big shock after the government placed a ban on trade with India. The industry relies on raw material imported from India for the manufacturing of several essential medicines. Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) has raised this issue with Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), demanding clearance of Indian origin consignments of the raw materials in cases where contracts/LCs/bills of lading were filed before the issuance of notification banning imports of Indian origin products.The PPMA, while lodging a complaint with DRAP with the subject of "Non-compliance of SRO-927/928 for imposing ban of Indian origin products", has informed the authority that the SRO mentioned above issued on August 9, 2019 clearly mentioned that the contracts/LCs/bills of ladings established prior to the issuance of the notification will be admissible and the contracts will be fulfilled.
The PPMA further stated that contrary to the government's instructions when the PPMA members resumed their offices after Eid-ul-Azha holidays they were shocked to know that various consignments which already arrived at Karachi Port from India had been diverted/not allowed to be offloaded at Karachi Port by the Customs authorities.
The PMMA said that due to that denial, the ships/consignments had been diverted to the next destination and it was expected that same would be returned to India and would need to be re-shipped to complete the LC process. The association has said that this is in non-compliance with the SRO 927/928 and the only plausible solution will be to have them reshipped from India to complete the LCs/contracts permitted before August 9th.
The PPMA has urged the authority to take immediate action to review the situation and let the association know how to mitigate the matter, saying that diverting the consignments is a clear contravention of the government of Pakistan's notification. The association has urged the government to allow the offloading of present consignments, saying if on the way logistics are denied the whole supply chain will be disrupted.
The association has further warned the authority about the serious implications of this situation not only for the pharmaceutical industry but also for the patients.
The pharmaceutical industry had already started working out alternate plans of importing raw material to meet the local demand, the letter further added.
According to government officials, at present India is among the top drug raw material exporters and Pakistani pharmaceutical industry was importing up to 65 percent of raw material from India. The officials said if the situation prevailed for a couple of months, it would bring down the local pharmaceutical industry at knees and ultimately poor patients would suffer across the board.
The official said that as a result of shortage of raw material, local pharmaceutical industry would be forced to close down, drug dealers would store medicines and the government would be forced to import drugs which would take the prices up.