While Pakistan’s opposition parties have questioned the permission given to import medicines and raw materials from India, pharmaceutical companies say that if such imports are stopped, the country’s local drug production would be adversely affected.
Last week, opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif criticised the import in Parliament. According to a report presented by the Health Ministry to the government, manufacturers and importers had imported 429 active pharmaceutical ingredients, 12 different kinds of vaccines and 59 medicines from India under a special permission.
However, the imported drugs included vitamin tablets as well as medicines which are being produced in Pakistan also, the report said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had last week ordered a probe into the misuse of permission for the import of life-saving drugs from India.
However, the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) has said that the import of raw material is crucial to local production of a number of drugs.
Pakistan had resumed import of Indian drugs in September 2019, one month after it had announced it would stop imports after India scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
After pressure from local producers, the government had allowed the import of life-saving drugs as well as raw material from India.