Pakistan faces shortage of Paracetamol, and other life-saving drugs following tussle between govt and PPMA

Pakistan faces shortage of Paracetamol, and other life-saving drugs following tussle between govt and PPMA

According to reports, Pakistan is facing a shortage of ten life-saving drugs, following the tussle going on between the government and PPMA.

Sources say that this came after the government imposed a sales tax of 17% on pharmaceutical raw materials, following which the industry has stopped import. If the government does not take rigid action and take stakeholders into confidence, in the new few days, 80% of drugs will be removed completely from the market.

Life-saving drugs shortage

There is a shortage of the following drugs:

  • Bromazepam
  • Cefixime
  • Aspirin
  • Amoxicillin
  • Thyroxine
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Alprazolam
  • Cephradine
  • Paracetamol
  • Co-Amoxiclav

In a meeting head by Saleem Mandiwala, Shaukat Tareen expressed support for the removal of 17% sales tax from raw materials, which was meant for manufacturing medicine.

Chairman of Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA), Qazi Dilawar reported that the sales tax has led to a 20% shortage of daily-use medicines across the country. He further informed that the PPMA has asked for an increase in the price of medicine from 20% to 25%, which includes the elimination of 17% sales tax on raw materials and a refund from FBR of Rs40 billion.

Dilawar said that the industry has been in a crisis for six months, but the government is not paying attention. He added that the government has collected Rs40 billion, which isn’t being repaid. Hence, they do not have the funds for important raw materials. Similarly, the increase in prices of gas, energy, and petroleum has led to a 45% increase in production costs.

”About 95% of the raw materials for pharmaceuticals come from abroad and the tariff per container has increased from the US $1,000 to $9,000,” he added. The prices of locally manufactured products are going up on a daily basis, but medicines prices are not being increased to this hike.

If this problem is not resolved, Pakistan will have to import medicines of $8 billion to $10 billion annually. The medicines will also be 500% more expensive for the average patient than domestic medicines.

Dilawar warned that if their demands are not met, PPMA would go on strike after 22nd June 2022.

What are your views on this? Share in the comments bar below.

  • Imposition of GST on medicine is a cruel preposition. Taking into account the growing poverty in the country it must be gradually reduced if it is impossible to remove it immediately. While I say this I take into account variable factors. The reduction in revenue to the government. The legislation framework required for regulation is a difficult task however not impossible. The ruling parties if make a commitment to adopt this as a viable piece for discussion on the agenda before financial bill is approved. This is where the problem lies because medical provisions on reduced prices are least important commitment for our law makers. PTI never made sustained efforts on this subject despite having a soft corner for section of poor population. Moreover china which provides bulk of raw material has raised his cost of export in medicine. The difference in cost of production and tax expense may be studied in greater detail with focus on meeting it from other sources for example cutting expenditure in non viable projects such as renovation of government buildings,fuel and maintenance expense on cars, imposition of ban on luxury items like cars of more than 1800 cc,iPhone,cosmetics,laptops, eatables like chocolates, juices and many assorted items.
    There could be no end to suggest various measures to balance the government expense which is well known and understood by the law makers.
    I urged my readers to contribute their thoughts on this issue in order to build up awareness on this issue.

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