Pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan

The pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan has grown over the past few decades. At the time of Pakistan’s independence in 1947, the country had few manufacturing units. Currently there are more than 800 large scale pharmaceutical formulation units in Pakistan, including 25 operated by multinational companies. Almost all the raw materials used in the manufacture of medicines come from abroad. About 50 percent of this is imported from India.

The Pakistan pharmaceutical industry supplies about 90% of the country’s finished dosage form and 4% of the active ingredient demand. Specialized dosage forms such as soft gelatin capsules, parenteral fat emulsions, and metered-dose inhalers continue to be imported. There are only a few active ingredient manufacturers of bulk drugs and Pakistan mainly depends on imports of bulk drugs for its formulation requirements resulting in frequent drug shortages. Political unrest and allegations of under-invoicing add to import uncertainty, and clashes with customs and tax authorities are common.

The national pharma industry has shown growth over the years, especially in the last decade. The industry is trying to upgrade itself and today most industries are following local Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) laws, along with some international guidelines. Currently the industry has the capacity to manufacture various traditional products ranging from simple pills to capsules, ointments and syrups.

In 2017, the World Health Organization recognized the first Pakistani drug manufactured by Getz Pharma.

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