The Pakistani Spectator

A Candid Blog

Cost of Medicines in Pakistan

By Farid Masood • Sep 19th, 2008 • Category: Misc • 14 Comments

I had muscular pain in back and went to doctor who gave me two type of medicines (capsules). I had a habit to read expiry date and the chemical formula. One of these capsules was ‘INDOMETHACIN’ which was manufactured by Taiyuan Pharmaceutical Factories Weixing, Taiyuan, China.

I asked the doctor that Pakistan is importing medicines from China also? He took these capsules and saw it, and replied this is my first chance that I have seen medicines Made in China. Then he continued that this is expensive medicine and people are unable to buy it, its good that this is being imported from China, this will reduce its price also.

We know cost of medicines in Pakistan is more than our neighboring countries because of the overheads and un-controlled profiteering by medicines producing and importing companies.

Lets hope from now onwards we may have Chinese medicines to support the poor ailing humanity in Pakistan. Government of Pakistan must help importers in this regard by waving duties and reducing taxes and also ensure that this is passed on to consumer also. I shall also write soon on how medicinal companies are earning profits in Pakistan.

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14 Responses »

  1. [...] | The latest news and happenings on one page wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt I had muscular pain in back and went to doctor who gave me two type of medicines (capsules). I had a habit to read expiry date and the chemical formula. One of these capsules was ‘INDOMETHACIN’ which was manufactured by Taiyuan Pharmaceutical Factories Weixing, Taiyuan, China. I asked the doctor that Pakistan is importing medicines from China also? He took these capsules and saw it, and replied this is my first chance that I have seen medicines Made in China. Then he continued that this is ex [...]

  2. Mr Faisal , you are speaking over your head , Pakistani medicine are far superior in quality when compared to their Indian counterparts , our manufacturing practices are according to the international standards when you compare with India where recently Maharashtra state closed down 3000 factories due to quality problems ( Source Bio Spectrum India ) , even FDA recently banned medicine from two of Ranbaxy plants ( Source CNN Money / Fortune) . If you check in Srilanka and other Asian countries Pakistani medicine are being considered as high quality and fetch a far better price then Indian which are dime a dozen . Talking about freeing imports and flooding the market with cheap Indian medicine there will come a time when the 450 manufacturing plants each employing an average of 500 workers and atleast 500 on average field force will be forced to shut down and we will be enjoying the quality of Indian Medicine . Sure medicine overheads are high , look at the shooting dollar prices and all r/material is imported very few raw materials are made in Pakistan and that too only fial steps are worked upon , Electricity is increasing day by day while the people employeed in the industry are the best paid with even a sales rep can make upto 100,000 a month .By the way Indian Medicine are not cheap just check price of Augmentin in Pakistan and in India for what we buy a bottle of 6 Tabs here , in India you get only a couple of Tabs ( Source IDR MEDCLIK)

  3. Farhan

    thanks for comments, i shall write on that “far superior” concept, give me some days.

  4. Hi Farhan,
    This post is about cheap Chinese medicines. I find you are talking about Indian Medicines. Why? anything Indian is Bad and made by enemy?
    Before you write about cost of medicines you must know about the following FACTS.
    1.The difference between original medicines and Generics
    2.Product Patent and Process Patent
    3.Why India and Chinese are leaders in Generics?
    4.WTO and Doha round and also TRIPS(Trade related intellectual property rights)
    5.Drug MNCs and ever greening of patents
    6.In India we have DPCO 1954(Drug Pricing control order) and i donot know about Pakistan law and how Indian big cats of drugs are scuttling this order.
    7.WHO and FDA and how they are controlled by drug MNCs.
    8.How the WHO essential drugs list of 354 medicines are prepared and how it doesnot even contain CLOZAPINE. You can ask a psychiatrist about the importance of this medication in mental illness treatment.
    9.Drug trials Phase I,II,III,IV
    10.Difference between ANDA and NDM
    I could easily see Farhan is representing the import lobby of your drug industry.He has no concern for poor pakistanies and their health.I am not saying Indian Big business and drug manufacturers are saints.for them DOCTORS are the consumers and NOT pATIENTS AND CARRES WHO PAY!!!!!!!!!!
    iMPORT OF cHEAP CHINESE DRUGS (NOT FROM ENEMY INDIA) is the answer to your drug prices.That requires GUTS which none of our south asian politicians have!!!!!!!

  5. There is no denial of the fact that the cost of manufacturing has increased. The real issue is fixation of ‘Retail’ price which is awarded by the ministry of health in Pakistan. The process of awarding retail price is full of flaws.
    Very simple example: The retail price of a drug, a pain-killer, Diclofenic Sodium may be Rs.75 to Rs.100 but from whole sale market, like Lohari Market, Lahore, Nimak Mandi, Peshawar, the same can be purchased in Rs.6 to Rs.10. From Karachi whole-sale market, price will be even less. Anti-biotic tablets Ciprofloxacin 500 mg (1×10) has retail price around Rs.220 but from whole sale market, the pack of ten can be purchased in Rs. 40 to Rs.60.
    The factory/manufacturer which supplies to whole sale market, keeps it profits then the product goes in different hands where each trading hand gets its own profit. But I can say with surety that the doctor or practitioner sells it to patient (who is the end consumer) at retail price and the maximum profit is bagged by doctor or practitioner.
    When local pakistani comapanies can sell Cefotaxime Sodium one gram injection in Rs. 25 to Rs.40, why Clafron (by Aventis) is being sold in Pakistan at price of Rs.240 for last more than fifteen years (mind it, before the current trend of price hike and increase in value of dollar)? Admittedly the multi-nationals has huge marketing expenditure but let me tell you that what they say as their ‘marketing expenditure’, in real its bribe-costs which they have to give to doctors. Its unbelievable how the multi-nationals are looting this poor country. I am one hundred percent sure that to manufacture one injection of cefotaxime sodium one gram will NOT cost more than Rs.40, why why why the manufacturer is allowed to sell it in Rs.240? Same is situation with 99% drugs manufactured by multi-nationals. Take example of Injection Ceftrioxone Sodium. In whole sale market you can buy it at price of rs.45 to Rs.55. Why Roche is selling Inj. Rocifen at price of Rs.410?
    The answer is obvious. Multi-nationals are too strong to be snubbed so the conventional wisdom requires when you can not break a taboo, be part of it. For fixation of retail price of any new brand, multi-nationals and many strong national companies pay huge amounts of bribes to bureaucrats of health ministry.
    I will not suggest that the action should be taken against doctors. In free market economy they will enjoy financial gains when available. The real task is to have committee of independent professionals who can re-evaluate the prices. When Clafron price will come to 60 instead of 240, Aventis will not be able to offer foreign tours to doctors, wont pay for car lease instalments, will not offer expensive electronics items.
    But irony of fate is that successive governments have failed to address the issue because of might of multi-nationals. The incumbent PPP regime wont do it either.

  6. I do not have any experience of Chinese medicine nor do I want to experience. However I have had few bitter experiences with other Chinese products. About a two month ago I bought a new battery for my bike and after working fine for 15 days it was all dead. The previous battery was there for more than three years and was far better than the new Chinese one. Farid shahab I would like to know if the medicine was affective too?

  7. Mr Talal

    Medicine worked fine


  8. Dear
    Indomethacin is a very cheap drug but have potential of nephrotoxicity. Do not use it freely please check its kinetics and patient information sheet. Due to its commercial less viability Pakistani manufacturer does not take intrest. I think safe drug should be use.

  9. Hi Farhan, It was interesting to read your comments and than again about how you are defending the import of drugs into the country.

    For your information Sir, how can you be sure that the drugs that you did buy were made in China? It could have been made either in a non-Allopathic enterprise or maybe in our neighboring country. For all drugs legally imported into Pakistan there is a requirement if writing the details of the importer, their address and a valid registration number awarded by the Ministry of Health.

    It is so dis-heartening to note that you are trying to push the imported brands, either from China or India.

    Sir, the importance of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Pakistan is less than understood. Are you aware that more children in IRAQ died due to non-availability of pills rather than from bombs and bullets.

    I personally feel that the pharmaceutical industry should be given the due role that it deserves, second only to the defence industry.

    Finally I was reading all the comments about the multinationals and how they send the doctors abroad. My Only question is, if we are all aware of these practises why are we spening so much money and buying drugs manufactured and sold by those companies. We should be sane enough to buy other branded generics from good Pakistani national companies like Hilton, Highnoon, Zafa and others.

    I had the opportunity to attend a conference on public health where Dr. Kamal of the AGA KHAN proudly said that he only prescribes antibiotics of MNC’s and he asked the doctors will they prescribe the drugs of national companies?? Finally he said he wants to see the MIC level of antibiotics and than he would prescribe their drugs.

    My answser to his statement is if they are using life saving drugs manufactured by local companies than they cna also use their antibiotics and I dont think that, Dr. Kamal, children of the poor are as forunate as your children.

    Sir, have you asked any paksitani company to forward you their data or would you rather proudly adhere to the fact that you would continue patronizing the multinationals for your personal gains at the cost of your patients and Sir, just openly admitting your shameful deed does not absolve you of your crime.

    Finally i must add here that most of the products of the multinationals are manufactured by national companies and we end up paying so much more for the brand.

    When will saneness prevail??

  10. Dr Kamal is neither qualified nor comptant to comment over quality of drug. He is unaware with fact that quality of drug can never be assess by anything but cGMP and testing. Only qualified individual can inspect and audit the compliance status of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industry. A drug manufactured in MNC does not mean it is of standard quality unless it is not proved. Reader will surprise to learn that a numbers of high ranking drugs of MNC are manufactured by local national industries for those MNC in Pakistan. We all should condem to Dr Kamal on his shame ful act and illetrate behaviour. One qualified person should be careful to comment on any scientific issues which is the moral obligation.

  11. Hi

  12. can i know about This Mediecne

  13. from where i can get Clonidine (Catapres) Tablets? and on cheep rates?

  14. I am from Pakistan (Rawalpindi)……i posted the last query about Clonidine. how can i get a reply?

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