ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's pharmaceutical industry on Monday warned it would be unable to manufacture and ensure the availability of medicines beyond seven days if the government does not take measures to being down the increasing cost of production for medicines.
Pakistan, whose foreign exchange reserves have dwindled to a little over $3 billion, is desperately seeking external financing to avoid default. Its currency, the rupee, has declined to historic lows against the US dollar over the past couple of weeks, driving fears the country's import-dependent economy would see more inflation in the coming days.
Several factories have announced temporary closures across the country, largely owing to the increasing cost of raw materials. On Monday, the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) former chairman, Qazi Mansoor Dilawar, wrote a letter to the health minister, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), and the health ministry to take remedial measures to bring down the cost of production.
He added that the depreciating rupee had increased the cost of imports, which had in turn, increased the cost of production of medicines.
"In view of the foregoing and being compelled and constrained by the circumstances beyond the control of the pharmaceutical industry, it has become completely unsustainable to manufacture medicines and ensure their availability beyond the next 7 days," Dilawar wrote.
He said the PPMA had repeatedly asked the government and DRAP to allow inflationary adjustments in the maximum retail prices of medicines, adding that failure to do so would result in the "inevitable collapse of the local pharmaceutical industry."
"The Federal Government and the DRAP have failed to take any measures whatsoever to protect the public en masse and remedy the ongoing situation," he wrote.
Dilawar added that impediments in the pharma industry's growth would result in the denial of safe, potent and effective drugs to the masses.
Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel and DRAP CEO Asim Rauf did not respond to requests by Arab News for comments.