First Exclusive Drug Testing Lab In Pakistan Gets Accreditation From WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has accredited first independent drug testing lab in the country, paving way for significant surge in export of pharmaceutical products from Pakistan.

First Exclusive Drug Testing Lab In Pakistan Gets Accreditation From WHO

By News Desk

Located in the federal capital, the state-of-the art lab has been found by the WHO to be operating at an acceptable level of compliance of its Good Practices for Pharmaceutical Quality Control Laboratories (GPPQCL).

The equipment has been imported from Germany and Japan for the laboratory which is using United States Federal Drug Authority (FDA) compliant software to make sure that the drugs tested by it meet the international standards.

Exports of medicines from Pakistan stand at around mere US dollars 200 million as against India’s exports worth US dollars 20 billion. Afghanistan continues to be on top on the list of destinations for the medicines from Pakistan, but over the years it has lost a significant market share to India there also, with exports dropping from 75 million US dollars in 2016 to US dollars 65 million in 2018.

The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) has called for identification of new markets for the country’s pharmaceutical products as exports to traditional destinations are consistently declining. It has urged the industry to identify newer regions to do business and advised the government to set up exhibition stalls in potential markets.

Consistent lack of exploring new markets by pharmaceutical exporters, over the past few years, indicates the trend towards stagnation. “Their (exports) inability to penetrate new markets needs to be addressed,” TDAP said in a report.

“The top buyers are consistently Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Vietnam. The same buyers, year after year, are indicative of a concentration risk. New markets need to be explored.”

Market share of Pakistani medicines in Afghanistan has been on the downward trend for the past three years, falling to $65 million in 2018 from $75 million in 2016 due to loss of market share to India. Similarly, market share in Vietnam declined to 0.4 percent in 2018 from 1.0 percent in 2016 due to increasing presence of Indian products.

Pakistani medicine exports to Sri Lanka were $20 million, representing a five percent market share. The Philippines was the third largest customer of Pakistan with $18 million imports. However, the market share in the south East Asian economy was extremely small at 1.2 percent due to the large amount of medicine imports worth $1.3 billion.

Talking to a select group of reporters here, Dr Ambreen Amir, Chief Operating Officer, Prime Health Private Ltd, said there are around 700 pharmaceutical companies in Pakistan and the country has an enormous potential for export of generic medicines.

She said the establishment of an independent laboratory meeting the international standards will help pharma industry find new destinations which it could not access in the past due to stringent compliance requirements of the regulations in US, Europe and other developed countries.

Originally published at Daily Times