The Contribution of Multinational Pharmaceutical Companies

Table of Content

Major Therapeutic Categories Antibiotics, vitamins and analgesics are the top three therapeutic classes in terms of sales by value. Anti-biotic dominate the market with approximately 24% of the market value. Vitamins and analgesics account for 6. 6% and 6% of the market respectively. The vitamins and antibiotics sectors are vital not only because of their large size but also because of their astronomical growth. Sales of antibiotics are growing at 30% per year, while the growth rate in the vitamins segment is 20%.

The importance of vitamins in the domestic market is compounded by the fact that being nonessential drugs, their prices are now deregulated. This price deregulation, which occurred in 1993 has enhanced the competition within this therapeutic strata of the market and has placed companies like Abbot, Cyanamid, Pfizer, Sandoz, Squibb and Roche in a privileged position. Well-positioned competitors in the antibiotic arena include Smith Kline, Wyeth Squibb, Sandoz, Pfizer and Wellcome. Seprtan, Amoxil and Ampiclox are three largest selling products in Pakistan. Wellcome produces Septran, whereas the other two are Beecham’s products.

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The sales of each of these three products are approximately $6 million to $9 million, larger than the total sales of many medium sized companies in the pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan. The total installed capacity in the private sector is estimated to be 12 billion tablets, 1. 2 million capsules, 312 million ampoules, 173 million vials, 32000 tons of liquid preparations and 2000 tons of semi solid (ointments) preparations. In rupee terms the total pharmaceutical market in 1992-93 worked out to be Rs 20 million. The annual average growth was estimated to be 16. 1%. This growth has been achieved despite the strict price controls.

However due to the recent devaluation of the Pak rupee against US dollar, the pharmaceutical industry may find it difficult to maintain their growth rate. Since approximately 95% of the raw material requirements of the industry are met through imports, the recent devaluation will increase the cost of production and may thus have a contractionary impact on the supply of essential drugs. Moreover, the overall effect might be more acute due to the fact that the government heavily regulates the retail prices of medicines.

Reasons for excessive market growth

  • An excessive inflow of rural population to the cities is responsible for the increased demand for pharmaceuticals. The present rate of urbanization in the country is 5% per annum.
  • Pakistan’s population is increasing at a rate of 3% per annum and during the last five years per capita income has registered an average annual growth rate of 3% at constant factor costs and about 17% at current factor costs. Hence the expenditure on drugs and medicines have gone up accordingly.
  • The money remitted from abroad has also led to a rise in the expenditure on drugs and medicines. Home remittances increased to the extent of $3000 million per annum. However, in 1992-93 remittances had been reduced to $1562 million.
  • The unethical practice of retailers to sell drugs without prescription is another factor responsible for the growth in the medicine market. Moreover, the sales of spurious drugs at low prices are also adding to drug sales.


In the 1950s over 75% of the country’s requirement of medicines was fulfilled by imported medicines in finished form. This has now been reduced to approximately 20%. Presently though, almost 95% of pharmaceutical raw material and almost one third of the formulated drugs are imported. By value, approximately 40% of pharmaceutical sales are imported. There is an import duty of 60% on raw materials. Imports of medical and pharmaceutical products increased from Rs 936 million in 1980-81 to 5980. million in 1992-93, showing an average annual increase of 17. 2%.

Among the different therapeutic classes of medicines imported in the country, antibiotic imports registered a tremendous growth. Import of analgesics is quite insignificant and there has been no import of cough syrups since 1979-80 because domestic production has increased to quite an appreciable extent during the past few years. Antacids are at present not imported in the country.

Major suppliers of pharmaceutical are United Kingdom and Germany. They are mainly supplying medications and their market share is around 62. 4%. Suppliers of paracetamol are American companies. Total imports of paracetamol from USA in 1991-92 stood at Rs. 289 million In terms of money Germany supplied Rs. 1448 worth of medicines while UK’s share was Rs. 915 million worth of medicines. Other important sources are Yugoslavia and China, which supply medicines at very low cost.


Exports of pharmaceutical are picking up at a very rapid rate. In 1988-89 exports stood at Rs. 110. 4 million that increased to Rs. 514. 5 million in 1992-93 showing a cumulative rise of 336% in four years. In the last five years average annual increase of exports was 67%. Thirty percent of the total exports went to SriLanka, Djibouti and Nigeria. Other important buyers of Pakistani pharmaceutical were Argentina (6. 7%), U. A. E (5. 86%), Belgium (4. 09%), Bangladesh (3. 80%) and USA (3. 52%). Pakistan can substantially increase the exports of pharmaceutical industry is being threatened in several countries.

According to reports in financial Times, UK is becoming an increasing unattractive country for drug manufacturing units. Investments in the UK pharmaceutical industry could be threatened by increasing government controls on prices and demand for drugs. Moreover, increasing animal rights protection is also a cause of major concern for the industry. For regulatory reasons medicines have to be tested for toxicity on two species, only one of which can be a rodent. Some drugs are poorly tolerated by dogs and so have to be tested on primates. Most cardiovascular research is based on dogs, because their internal system is similar to that of human beings.

It may be mentioned that six of the world’s top selling drugs was discovered in United Kingdom. At present, Britain has won the highest number of Nobel prizes in the world. However, due to the increase in the protection of animal rights in the recent years, Britain is becoming an unattractive site for future pharmaceutical research. Moreover, cost cutting reforms introduced by the German health care system have focused on heavy controls over drug prescribing. As a result, more than 20% was saved on medicines between January and June 1993, with a significant switch to cheaper off-patent, generic medicines.


In a recent package of incentives offered by the government. The industry will be exempt from duty and sales tax on the import of raw materials for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals. The import duty on the import of plant and equipment will also be cut down to only 10%. The raw materials that are used in other industries are also subject to duties, which range from 15 to 65%. However this duty can be reclaimed within 15 months of the production of manufactured drugs.

The income tax payable is 37% for public limited companies and 47% for private limited companies. In addition to this the companies also have to pay other taxes such as: Worker profit participation fund 5% on PAT Worker welfare fund2% on PAT EBOI RsRs. 150 per head per month EducationRs. 100 per head per month The companies also have to pay octroi, Property tax, vehicle tax, professional tax and research levy etc.


The major proportions of the pharmaceutical industry are composed of 20 well-entrenched competitors, with no player controlling more than 6% of the market. Absence of monopolistic distortions and intense rivalry result in competitive products and superior quality of long term earnings. The major competitors in the pharmaceutical industry can be generally classified under the following headings: Multinational pharmaceutical companies National pharmaceutical companies (under public sector control) Local pharmaceutical companies Importers The multinational companies are responsible 70% of the total manufactured products.

Imports contribute around 10% and national and local companies manufacture 20%. The multinational and local companies are diagrammatically opposed not only in their marketing strategies, but also in their sourcing methods and in their dependent on their parent companies. These major multinational companies produce their basic raw materials from parent companies, which also help them with formulation and research and development efforts. As far as marketing is concerned, these giants depend on internationally branded product, which are supported by high budget advertising. On the other hand the local companies basically rely on licensing for their core business.

As they are unable to match the advertising budget and expertise of their multinational competitors, these local companies have positioned themselves as “pushers” of their products by offering higher trade margins. In general MNCs offer their retailers 15% margins whereas the margins that are offered by the local competitors are approximately 20%. Specifically as far as the foreign competition is concerned, almost all of the world’s largest European and US pharmaceutical companies are present in Pakistan, with most of their product range. Thus the world’s most prominent and prestigious brands compete with each other a very small market share in terms of value.

The top 20 firms in Pakistan are all affiliates or subsidiaries of multinational companies. Together they capture over 60% of the Market. The top 5 companies include Wellcome, Abbott, Glaxo, SmithKline Beecham and Hoechst. Together they account for nearly 23% of the total market. Following are the tables gives the specific details of the top 10 companies that are operating in Pakistan. (The top 10 companies have been selected on the basis of their rupee sales).


The industry is generally profitable and has a pretax profit for MNCs ranging between 12% and 18%. Raw material costs constitute about 60% of all costs. For most MNCs, a significance part of costs are in imported raw material (up to 50% of sales). The stock market recognizes the potential of the pharmaceutical sector and has accordingly, priced it at a sector Price-Earnings ratio of 32. 5 compared to the Pakistani Stock Market P/E of 21.


Abbott Laboratories (Pakistan) Limited is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Pakistan with sales revenues of over Rs. 1. 0 billion. In 1993, it commanded a market share of approximately 5. 5% and maintained the position in 1994. The company was established in 1948 and converted to a public limited company in 1992 with Abbott USA retaining 70% equity. It has factories in Karachi, Multan & Rawalpindi while head office in Karachi.

The company is also engaged in the manufacture of general health care products that are well known brands like Mospel (mosquito repellant), Selsun Shampoo and Fiberand-Digestive. Abbott is the second largest pharmaceutical company in terms of products offered (61). It has a strong presence in the vitamins and antibiotics market, Erythrocin of Abbott is currently ranked as one of the top ten selling national brands in Pakistan, accounting for about 16% of the companies sales. With the Pak Consulting & Engineering (Pvt) Limited of deregulation expected together speed, there will be positive effect of the sales of the company as the antibiotics market holds 20. 6% share in the total market for pharmaceutical products.

The company has a tradition for launching new products and new products are expected especially in the general health care sector that is in the slow price regulation category. The one negative side is that the company has not made provisions for a contingent tax liability of Rs. 76 million, while actually not expected to be fully levied the possibility cannot be discounted. As a result the share price of Abbott is below its peer group despite otherwise strong fundamentals. The company’s average compounded growth rate turnover is 20. 5%. It has more than doubled in the last five years, which has made Abbott the market leader in the last three years. Abbott has no long-term debt and it has strong relationship with the major local and foreign banks.

Interest cover is currently estimated at 16X as the company is able to negotiate very low short term borrowing rates (11. 7-13. 2%) from banks, due to its strong credit rating in the local market. Gross profit margin has increased from 19. 2% in 1989 to 29. 6% in 1993 indicating better pricing policy and impact of price deregulation in the non-essential drugs segment. In 1993, profit after taxes increased by 111. 8%. The underlying factors were increased volume, a better product mix and government relaxation of price controls. The company’s dividend policy has become very liberal dividends have increased from nil to 1989 to 35% in 1993.


Incorporated in 1948 in Pakistan, Knoll pharmaceutical limited is engaged in the production and marketing of ethical drugs and health care products. The company is a subsidiary of Boots company PLC, UK that holds 56% equity. Four investment companies hold another 22% shares, while the remaining shareholding is shared between foreign investors, individuals and financial institutions. The company is a major player in the anti-rheumatics segment with Brufen and in the throat lozenges segment with Strepsils. Knoll has a strong hold over the anti-rheumatics segment with brufen as the market leader having a share of more than 20%. Brufen accounts for over 40% of Boot’s total sales.

Boots is well placed in the throat lozenges segment with Strepsils as a major seller. The company is streamlining its operations as evidenced from dis-investment in fixed assets especially the recent divestiture of its food division (sold to Heinz). This points towards a much more focused and dedicated strategy. The company is expected to net about Rs. 160 million from the dale of the food division which it intends to combine with its huge cash reserves to become one of the top players in the pharmaceutical market. Our researched has revealed that Boots is looking for acquisitions in the pharmaceutical and health care sector. Preliminary discussions with a couple of companies are reportedly underway.


Ciba-Giegy enters in Pakistan 1951 as one of the earliest in to the pharmaceutical industry. Ciba-Giegy of Switzerland hold 60% equity stake with the balance of large stocks being held by long term institutional investors. Ciba-Geigy manufactures and markets drugs and medicines. It is ranked as the 15th largest company in pharmaceutical in Pakistan, based on the sales of its pharmaceutical products only. 20% of the company’s revenue comes from pharmaceutical products, whereas remaining 80% is derived from agriculture and other products. In 1988 the commercial trading division was closed down due to poor performance.

Ciba-Giegy has been struggling in the face of sales an eroding margin due to stiff competition in the agro-chemical/pesticide segment that accounts for 75-80% of its business. Despite a world class percent, Ciba-Giegy has not been able to recover from the shock of 1992 when its profit s were reduced to mere 38% of the previous year’s figure. The company showed a pre-tax loss of Rs. 1. 0 Million in 1993 after being hit by crash in gross margins due to intense competition by unbranded pesticides and rapidly rising financial charges. Ciba-Giegy has however taken steps to stem its slide and is in the process of a major reorganization both at management’s levels as well as marketing.

An expected injection of equity should also allow it to improve its leverage and reduce the menace of high financial charges. With EPS growth emerging from negative in 1994 and EPS expected to reach Rs. 3 in 1995 the market appears to have put the past behind in terms of valuation. However we feel that for now Ciba is HOLD candidate. After a pre-tax loss of Rs. 1. 0 million in 1993, Ciba-Giegy is taking the necessary steps to put it on of course of slow but steady recovery. The massive jump in inventories due to inability to sell in the face of stiff competition from unbranded pesticides led to very high cost inventory financing in 1992 and 1993.

With better sales in 1994 this is expected to be reduced. The margins, both gross and net, have continued to remain under tremendous pressure due to the above factors, but are expected to improve over the next two years. The current ratio has dropped from 0. 99 to 0. 93 in 1993 while interest cover remains precarious at around.


Incorporated in 1949, Cyanamid (Pakistan) LTD, is engaged in the sales and manufacture of pharmaceutical with major emphasis on antibiotics, anti-tuberculosis and nutritional drugs. The company is a subsidiary of American Cyanamid Company, USA, which has a 75% stake in the local market. It was converted into a public limited company in 1982.

The company’s major products include Myambutol & Myrin (anti-tuberculosis), ledermycin (anti-biotic), lederplex & incremin (vitamins). Cyanamid is the undisputed leader in the tuberculosis segment of the pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan. With tuberculosis still a menace in this part of world, Cyanamid’s strong positioning hopes well for continued further growth. Additionally, a fairly large proportion of its sales are accounted for by nutritional which underwent complete price deregulation late last year. This will feed through in 1994 accounts leading to massive jump in profitability. Cyanamid recently acquired the agri-business of Shell Pakistan in line with its strategy to diversify into related new fields.

The timing is fortuitous as the agriculture sector (mainly cotton) is just coming out of a deep recession of last three-year and is bound to grow very rapidly in the coming two-three years. With growth of 23% in 1993 expected to be repeated in 1994 and gross profit margins remaining over 25% Cyanamid should turn in increased profits in next two years. Financial results of 1993 showed a turnaround after dismissal performance in 1992 mainly due to increase in sales and retail price deregulation by the government. The highlight of the year was the increase in the after tax earnings which grew by 533% (Rs. 19 million as against Rs. 3 million in 1992) after showing negative growth in 1991 and 1992.

The 1994 half-year sales were Rs. 285 million versus 1993 half-year sales of Rs. 231 million. With a full year to half-year ratio of 2. the 1993 sales are expected to set a new record. Pre-tax profit margins are rising sharply and this trend is forecasted to continue in the near term. Specifically, turnover grew by 22. 53% as compared to 16. 3% in 1992 and operating income more than doubled to Rs. 59 million (Rs. 27. 3 million in 1992). ROTA and ROCE recovered to 5% and 18% respectively and are expected to jump sharply in 1994 due to much higher net margins which are forecasted at 10% versus 3. 5% in 1992.


One of the smaller players in the domestic pharmaceutical industry, Ferozsons is still in consolidation phase after a rough patch in the last two years. The company is diversifying into cosmetics and toiletries while actively seeking partners of this party manufacturing in this segment. Contract manufacture of Vicks Vapor-rub of Procter & Gamble, is said to have shown substantial growth.

Civil works at the company’s cosmetics factory at the tax free Gadoon industrial estate is almost complete and machinery is reported to have reached the site. Ferozsons appears to have turned the comer and is on a growth pats. It is a candidate for selected buying on weakness, for the long-term pretax profits have shown tremendous improvement of 400% through the absolute quantum is still small. Margins have also edged up with gross margin rising 4% to 32% and net reaching 7. 1% from 0. 8% in the previous period.

Interest cover has improved markedly and the current ration has shown improvement rising to 1. 32 versus 1. 16 last year indicating the liquidity is not deteriorating in the short term. The return on capital has jumped to 24% due to sharp rise in net profit.


Searle Pakistan Ltd was established in 1965, incorporated USA owned 60% shares in the company till year 1992. The UDL group which itself has an annual turnover of more than 6. 0 billion acquired the controlling shares from G. D. Searle in 1993. The board of directors comprises of 7 directors, out of which 6 belong to UDL group. Searle Pakistan Ltd has its plant in Karachi.

Its product canderel and hydrallin enjoy market leadership in their respective market segment. The acquisition of Searle by UDL has placed the company in the hands of the largest local distribution company in Pakistan. The company has disproportional benefit from price deregulation, as almost 50% of its sales are free from price controls. The combination of distribution syringes with UDL and potential of significance rise in margins due to continuing deregulation, Searle is expected to begin a solid and sustained growth in market share and profitability. The company has a license to use the name and style of Searle on its products for five years additionally, it will have technical and quality control support from the Searle.

It is also engaged in contract manufacturing for ICI, Procter & Gamble and Woodwards. With this business expected to rise economics of scale will positively impact gross margins. SPL has set a robust growth path for the next few years with sales rising at ground 25% p. a. gross and net margins jumped in 1993 due to price deregulation allowing the company to attain gross margins of 73%. Continuing price increases should allow gross margins of 40% to be achieved in 94/95. The company’s ROCE has shot up since its acquisition by UDL in 1993 to 28% from 20% in 1992. With UDL’s marketing prowess and price deregulation ROCE will continue to rise to 35% range in 94 and 95.

The company remains in a comfortable position in terms of debt servicing with an interest cover of between 4. 8-4. 9, despite a rise in long term debt linked to the take over. SPL is a cash generating company keeping a significance amount of cash in hand. This bodes well for shareholders whether in terms of dividend payout or reinvestment in expansion of business and diversification.


Parke-Davis & Company Ltd is a subsidiary of Parke Davis USA, which has a 75% stake in the local company. The company is involved in the manufacture and marketing of pharmaceutical and to likely preparations. Major brands of Parke-Davis are Ponstan, Chloromycetin and Amodiaquin.

The company is major player in the analgesic & antibiotic segment and ranks amongst the top 15 companies in the pharmaceutical industry. The stellar performance of Parke-Davis in 1993-94 has set the stage for taking it into big league for top 10 pharmaceutical, in the next years or so. Already one of the marketing leaders in the analgesic segment through its top selling ponstan, Parke-Davis has embarked on a two pronged growth strategy for the future, the results of which are already manifest in past two years results. The company is investing heavily in marketing its globally successful brands in key segments such as cold & cough medication, anti-inflammatory medicines etc. At the same time, it is going all out to promote its non-regulated (in price terms) product ranges.

The prices of Parke-Davis non- regulated products are still comparatively lower than the prices of some products in neighboring countries. This will allow the company to increase it margins in every segment where it is also increasing volume. The double impact will boost already accelerating profitability further over the next two year. With a prospective P/E of 9 in 1995 at current share prices (and forecasted EPS or Rs 38), the company is extremely attractive as growth stock. Since 1993 Parke-Davis has emerged from a period of consolidation and entered into massive new growth phase with record sales and high profitability. Sales growth has consistently risen over the last 5 years from 16% to a handsome 30%.

The company achieved excellent results in 1993 with pre-tax profits jumping to Rs 84. 8 million from Rs 21. 9 million in 1992 as evidence of this new chapter in this dynamic evolution. Gross margin for 1993 was 35. 5% (one of the highest in the industry) as against 21% in 1992. Apart from the sharp rise in sales strict cost management as evident helped it from an increase of only 5. 64% in cost of sales. Net profits registered a four-fold increase from Rs. 12. 5 million in 1992 to Rs 49. 5 million in 1993. The company transferred 86% of 1993 earnings to general reserves (Rs 87. 5 million in 1993 Vs Rs 45 million in 1992). As a result shareholders equity increased from Rs 64. 8 million to 107. million from 1992-93, hence it can finance future expansion through debt. EPS in 1993 was a magnificent Rs 25. 3 as against Rs 6. 5 in 1992. Net asset value per share also increased to Rs 54 in 1993 from Rs 32. 5 in 1992.


Wyeth laboratories was incorporated in 1961 and started commercial production in 1963. It is involved in the manufacturer and marketing of pharmaceutical products. American house products are the holding company of Wyeth with 70% share holds. Another 26% shares are held by financial institutions. The company is a major player in ant-acids (Simeco and Mucaine), anti-biotics and tranquilizers. Wyeth is the major player in the ant-acids segment, with a segment market share or 60% its major products being simeco and mucaine.


Glaxo Laboratories (Pakistan) Ltd is a subsidiary of Glaxo group U. K, which has a 70% stake. The company has facilities in Karachi and Lahore for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and food products. Its head office is located in Karachi. The ranked third in the pharmaceutical industry in terms of share volume and first in terms of market capitalization as per 1993 figures. The major brand of Glaxo is Zantac (anti-ulcer) Caponex (anti-biotic) and Betnovate (dermatological).


The distribution of drugs and medicines in the country may be undertaken in any of the following ways: Through stockiest/wholesalers Through national distributors Through company owed depots Under the first system, the stockiest are appointed in smaller areas like Nawabshah and Mirpurkhas etc, so that each covers a limited region. Stockiest perform simple functions and usually do not undertake sales promotion activities (these are handled by the manufactures staff). Stockiest employ sales-delivery men to cover upcountry regions. Large stockiest who handles a number of accounts may indulge in direct delivery system where spot order/delivery can be made immediately.

The terms between stockiest and the retailer as well as between the stockiest and the manufacture varies depending upon the type of product, terms of contact, and the goodwill that each party enjoys. Pfizer and Wellcome use the stockiest system for the distribution of their output. The distribution through company owned depots is normally used by the large manufactures with high turnovers and long product lines. The depots are scattered all over the country and allow the manufacture greater control, as well as direct feedback from the market. The bigger cities have more than one depot. This method is based on the mechanism of the optimum cost of distribution.

Direct distribution results in cost savings as the purchase complaints can be efficiently handled. Under the national distribution system, a national distributor acquires the stock from the manufacture warehouse. The distributor works through salesmen who deal with orders and use various incentive schemes and productivity plans to motivate the field staff.


In 1972, the Drug Generic Act was introduced. After this the Drug Act was introduced in 1976. It gave the government to control the prices of drugs. Under this act, the manufacture, sale, distribution and the profits of the pharma industry were totally regulated by the government. A drug-manufacturing license was granted for a limited period of two years.

All selling prices of the drugs were to be fixed by the Ministry of Health. The formula for calculating the price of finished imported medicines, as mentioned before, was cost plus 40% mark-up. In addition tom the formula, the prices fixed for imported medicines were automatically revised on July 5th of each year to allow for the exchange rate fluctuations. Prices of local drugs were determined on a prime cost plus mark-up basis. All manufactures had to comply with the Good Manufacturing practices and other requirements of the Drug Rules of 1976. In 1977 the import of unregistered drugs was banned. This law was followed by the Drugs Rule of 1979.

In 1989, the Drugs Labeling and Packing Rules were reinforced. This made it compulsory for the Pharma companies to print the date of manufacture and the date of expiry of all medicines. In 1993, the Economic Co-ordination Committee divided drugs into two categories. The prices of drugs under controlled category were not allowed to be changed at the discretion of manufacturer. Exemption on the import of raw materials, for the manufacture of pharma products had been extended to all drugs registered under the Drugs Act. Protection had been extended to the local infusion solution and in fusion administering sets manufacturing industry through levy of regulatory duty on the imported substitutes.

Exemption from customs duty and sales tax had been granted on plant and machinery, which were imported for the establishment of the approved projects for manufacture of Pharma raw materials. This excluded locally manufactured machinery. The Pharma industry was included in the list of key industries under the industrial policy. No new Pharma unit could be set up and license to manufacture drugs without the approval of the EEC/CIPS depending on the cost the project. The standard rate of royalty was kept at 2% for a period of three to five years. In March 1995, the Senate Standing committee on health made some important recommendations to the government with reference to the Pharma industry.

The important recommendations are as follows: The government should not allow the Pharma companies the annual increase in the prices of essential drugs keeping in mind the recent price hikes. Effective deterrent legislation should be introduced to check the prices of drugs especially in the controlled category. Protection given through patents should be limited to those products that do not affect the public interest and the import of non-patented/generic drug should be promoted. Tax and tariff reforms suggested encouraging local production of basic raw material. Local prices should be set in comparison with those reigning with in neighboring countries.

In May 1995, the Board of Investment announced a package of incentives for the Pharma industry. It is expected that as a direct result of this package the local production costs will fall by about 50%. The main features of the package are: Duty free imports of raw materials to boost the local drugs manufacturing industry. Reduction of imports duty on plant and equipment to 10%. Tariff protection to local manufacturers against the import of raw materials being produced locally. Exemption of the Pharma industry from sales tax. Revision of the debt to equity ratio from 60:40 to 70:30. In addition to the above mentioned regulations, the Pharma industry operates under the following rules:

All Pharma products must be registered with the ministry of health. Manufacturers and retail pharmacies must be licensed and doctors must be registered with the Pakistan Medical Council. Pharmacists are not allowed to sell products from unlicensed manufacturers. In addition a special license is required to sell narcotics and controlled drugs. Prescriptions for narcotics must include the prescribing doctor’s registration number. Only products listed in the National Formulary (list of drugs, which may be manufactured, imported or sold in Pakistan) may be imported. Some locally manufactured drugs included in the formulary may not be imported. At least 5% of profits of Pharma companies must be invested in R & D.

Prices have to be set in accordance with the guidelines provided by the government. The following information’s must be included on the package and insertion: Manufacturer’s name and address, generic name, ingredients, dosage, warnings, indications, contraindications, side effects and precautions. No more than 5% of a company’s turnover may be spent on advertising, sampling and other promotional activities. Prescription Pharmaceuticals may be advertised in medical journals only. Advertising to non-prescription drugs is allowed if necessary information, precautions and prohibited use for certain diseases is made. If a product is found to be defective the manufacturer is bound to recall it.


The Pakistani Pharma industry has been undergoing a great deal of criticism and is probably a victim of misinformation. The defamatory remarks, accusing the manufacturers of marketing and selling the medicines at very high prices were made in certain sections of the press. Though this allegation has no concrete basis, as the Pharma Industry is highly regulated, suspicious do come to mind. Moreover, much has been said accusing the industry of producing low quality drugs and catering to a monopoly. These remarks can do a lot of harm to the industry and measures should be taken to keep the industry from earning a bad name.

It is imperative for the government and the concerned authorities to realize that there should be no discrimination between national multinational companies, and there should be an immediate withdrawal of the decisions of the registration board on this subject.  The matter of transfer pricing has been grossly over- emphasized and over criticized for years.

A recent study was done by the ministry of health to investigate the so-called transfer pricing by determining the differences in prices of the imported raw materials and the average international prices. A detailed research showed that the much trumpeted transfer pricing was only about 0. 0038% of the total sales volume. Hence the concept of transfer pricing in the Pakistani Pharma industry is virtually non-existent and grossly exaggerated.

Prices in new products should be similar to those of existing products. The registration board comprises of many medical and technical experts, who after careful scrutiny and analysis price the product. The analysis of each case is on merit and takes into account several factors before pricing the new product. This process has been effective but the multinationals can quote a lot of cases when the board has initially granted the retail price and then has offered a lower price for the new product. Today it takes about $359 million and about 12 years of research for a research based multinational company to develop a new drug. The notion is that large MNCs capture markets by virtue of patents.

Any leading position is obtained on the basis of research and development efforts or medical information. The allegation pertaining to the use of patents as a tool of market supremacy is usually made in developing countries, and a suggested remedy is to abolish these patents. But this allegation is entirely baseless. As mentioned above R & D helps the company achieves a leading role, as these companies are responsible for Pharma innovation. They are known worldwide for their high quality products which results in their high market share. The patents are used only to protect their research work; otherwise the companies would not be able to finance its R & D due to fear of piracy.

Hence such notions against the patent systems prevalent in some segments of our industry are baseless. 1. Since the partial deregulation of the Pharma industry in 1993, the greatest beneficiaries have been the national companies. It can be certified for all 32 MNCs that the prices of controlled products increased by only 5%, where those of decontrolled products increased by 24%. In June 1993 all the companies had the opportunity to increase their retail prices to whatever level they desired. The national companies had the unique opportunity of increasing their prices up to the level of the prices of MNCs products. Hence there does not exist any disparity. 1.

The open tender method is probably the most efficient, economical and fair bulk purchasing policy used worldwide. In this system all the companies compete for the business. The Federal government and the Provincial government buying agencies follow the open tender method and are able to purchase quality medicines at low prices. In fact, the government agencies often indulge in intensive price negotiations and orders are finally placed upon the component ones.  It is wrong and improper to say that multinationals should be allowed to produce only a few products, as is often proposed by local manufactures. This practice is against international laws equitable business practices. Some of the drugs have to be imported and are not manufacture locally.

There are basically two reasons for this fact. One is that some of these drugs are highly specialized and cannot manufactured locally. Secondly, the demand for such drugs is so small that local manufacturing will not be feasible. Despite the hurdles in the manufacturing of chemicals, Pharma MNCs are moving into basic and semi-basic manufacturing. Glaxo is producing most of its major active chemicals locally. Wellcome has set up a huge trimethoprim facility. Hoechst, Cyanamid and Sandoz are also in the field. Beecham is also manufacturing some of its basic chemicals. One local company – Pharmagen Beximco has recently entered into basic manufacturing. 10.

To save foreign currency and promote the transfer of technology, the government has provided for total basic manufacture of products. These include imported plant and machinery exempted from customs duty and the refund of duty paid on imported process chemicals. 11. The decontrols of nonessential drugs is a potential boom to the industry and could prove to be a gold mine for those companies heavily engaged in the manufacture of such products. The authorities had hinted that the price of the so called decontrolled drugs would be re-decontrolled after 30 June 1995, and that controlled drugs will be allowed another price rise of 7. 5% to 10% towards the end of this year based on a new pricing formula which adjusted for devaluation and inflation.

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