The pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan has warned of an impending crisis due to a shortage of life-saving medicines as importers face heavy losses, caused by the volatile exchange rate between the Pakistani Rupee (PKR) and the US dollar. In a letter addressed to the Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), the Pakistan Chemists and Druggists Association (PCDA) explained how the country’s struggling economy has exacerbated the situation.
According to the PCDA, importers of finished pharmaceutical products have suffered a significant blow due to the 78 percent depreciation of the PKR since July 2020. The letter explained that the devaluation of the PKR has been critical, and there is no established formula or prediction for how the PKR will behave.
Historically, the PKR has never retreated after setting a new high, which has led to significant suffering for imported products, particularly general anesthesia, plasma-derived products, vaccines, oncology products, specialty hormones, and cardiac enzymes/heparin.
The PCDA warned that the absence of these products could lead to a medical disaster. Since these products are not locally manufactured, they are 100 percent affected by devaluation. The association implored that something must be done to avert the looming crisis.
The pharma dealers have demanded that they be allowed to apply for hardship as needed. As importers are currently facing a Force Majeure situation, an across-the-board price must be allowed as temporary relief. Products that are no longer viable cannot be imported because they are no longer viable. The letter also explained that the losses suffered by PCDA members in public and private sector tenders are another reason why they are unable to continue supplies.
the Pakistani pharmaceutical industry is facing an impending crisis due to the shortage of life-saving medicines caused by the unstable exchange rate between the PKR and the US dollar. This situation has led to significant losses for importers of finished pharmaceutical products, causing widespread suffering for patients in need of critical medicines. Urgent action must be taken to address this problem, and the PCDA has called on the relevant authorities to take immediate action