PPMA offers conditional support to deal with coronavirus outbreak

KARACHI: The Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) is ready for an uninterrupted supply of life-saving drugs to deal with the coronavirus outbreak in Pakistan if the federal government fixed the dollar’s exchange rate at Rs155 and ensures costume clearance of raw-material consignment at ports round the clock.

The pharmaceutical industry of Pakistan has said that as the foremost national duty, they will do their best to ensure the availability of essential medicines required in the country to deal with the coronavirus health emergency, but for this purpose, the industry requires the best assistance from relevant state and government institutions.

The PPMA expressed views while addressing a recent conference at the Press Club.

The PPMA office-bearers said that medicine manufacturers are an important stakeholder in the health sector. They were fully ready to lend whatever support is required by the state authorities, as well as the federal and provincial governments, to deal with the present coronavirus health emergency.

Speaking on occasion, the PPMA Senior Vice-Chairman, Syed Farooq Bukhari, said that the drug manufacturers in the country were ready to play their due part in the nationwide efforts being rendered to combat the coronavirus epidemic in the country considering it their solemn national obligation.

He said that in view of the global economic slowdown in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, certain emergency steps, and relief measures were required so that the pharmaceutical industry continued with its functioning to maximize production capacity.

He said that the relevant state and government institutions should ensure the provision of raw materials to the pharmaceutical industry for uninterrupted manufacturing of medicines to treat the patients of coronavirus and other epidemics in the country.

The PPMA Senior Vice-Chairman demanded that the US dollar-rupee parity should be fixed at Rs155 for all the consignments being imported for the normal functioning of the pharmaceutical industry in the country.

He said all relevant government agencies should ensure that the clearance process of all the consignments of the pharmaceutical industry at all stages should continue round-the-clock while all the relevant institutions should also work for expediting the clearance of the goods related to drug manufacturers.

He urged the federal government to withdraw the levy of all duties, sales tax, and surcharges on the clearance of goods at the shipping ports of the country.

He said that the interest cost on the bank loans obtained by the pharmaceutical industry should be waived for a period of three months starting from 15 March 2020.

Mr Bukhari said that the government should arrange a special operation of cargo planes to China for emergency airlifting of the raw materials required for medicine manufacturing in Pakistan.

He said that such emergency airlifting of the raw material for the pharmaceutical industry was required as the global transfer and shipment of goods had been severely affected due to travel and movement restrictions in places as parts of the worldwide efforts to slow down the transmission of the coronavirus.

The office-bearers of the PPMA said that apart from the continuous production to its fullest capacity, the pharmaceutical industry of the country was also ready to provide whatever assistance the government required from it to fight against the Coronavirus outbreak in the country.

They said that medicine producers would also continue with their best practices in the arena of drug research and development, so to play its due role in the national efforts being rendered to counter the current health emergency due to the viral outbreak.

Others who spoke on occasion included PPMA Zonal Chairman South, Iqbal Ahmad, Dr Kaiser Waheed, and others.

-MN Report

March 20, 2020

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