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Pakistan's pharma industry says "me too"

By Kirsty Barnes, 19-Oct-2006

Related topics: Ingredients

Two of Pakistan's pharma industry representatives spoke at the CPhI in Paris to raise the profile of this evolving sector of the country's economy.

Sandwiched between the two major low-cost drug manufacturing locations - India and China - Pakistan is now looking for its small share of the action.

For the last ten years the country has been building up its drug manufacturing facilities, infrastructure and export capabilities.

Twenty-nine international pharmaceutical manufacturers now have facilities operating in the country and its pharma market is now worth $1.5bn (€1.2bn).

Pakistan's Ministry of Health insists upon carrying out good manufacturing practice (cGMP) inspections on all these facilities regularly and all these inspections are properly documented, said Zahid Saeed, managing director of Indus Pharma and vice chairman of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association.

"So with the recent addition of lyophilised and modified release dosage forms, we now have the ability to cGMP manufacture all drug dosage forms in all major disease segments in Pakistan," said Saeed.

"While we are still limited in terms of capabilities, we expect this to change in two to three years as our facilities are coming up fast."

Highlighting the benefits of locating drug manufacturing in Pakistan, Saeed pointed out the country's obviously low cost-base, stating: "Conversion costs are among the lowest in the world in Pakistan."

"The country's geographical location at the centre of the world also makes it very cost-friendly on freight costs," Saeed said.

Furthermore, Saeed said that separate drug courts are operating in each region of Pakistan to assure the quality control of the medicines being produced and regulatory authentification is provided with the medicines exported.

"Due to this we are already exporting pharmaceuticals to highly regulated markets such as Canada and Singapore," he said.

Now that the country is in compliance with the TRIPPS agreement and has had intellectual property legislation in place since 2000, its pharma industry is on the launching pad waiting to take off.