Due to the imposition of GST, the pharmaceutical industry is no longer importing raw materials, resulting in a shortage of 40-50 life-saving drugs.

Mansoor Dilawar, Chairman of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA), stated that 40 to 50 medicines are in short supply and that the number will soon exceed 100.

According to Brecorder, the pharmaceutical industry has been waiting for Rs40 billion in sales tax refunds since January 16, 2022. However, the FBR has denied that any refunds were held by the tax authority.


Unavailable drugs

Alp tablets for anti-depression, Dexamethasone for asthma, cancer, and joint pain, Epitab for epilepsy, Nervin for depression, Epival, Fexet D, Nitronal, Ventoline tablets and injections are among the medicines in short supply on the market.

Furthermore, Epival In, Myrin P, Ketasol Inj, Loprin, Silver tab, phenergen Elixir, Tixylix Lincitilus, Chlooriptics Drops, systane drops, Rivotril drops, Dormicum tablets, Winstor, Tritace, Sodamint, Schazobutil, Jardymet, and Brufen are said to be in short supply.

There are also no Lomotil, Panadol, Tan Primolut B, Progynova, Stilnix, Glucobay, Zentel, Avor, Gravibinan, Syp Gaviscon, Lipofundin, or Sorbid Injection available.

According to the PPMA chairman, the industry is halting production of low-margin items after the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) imposed taxes that increased the industry’s cost of production by Rs60 billion to Rs70 billion.

Read more: FBR collects highest-ever tax of Rs6 trillion in FY22

“Because drug prices are capped, the pharmaceutical industry cannot pass on higher production costs to consumers,” he explained.

“As a result, the industry has been forced to halt production of low-margin medicines, which have become unviable due to tax increases,” Dilawar added.

According to Dilawar, the industry pays a 17 per cent refundable GST at the import stage and raw materials are subject to a 1 per cent non-refundable tax. The government then imposed a 1 per cent tax on the sale of medicines. This forces the industry to pay taxes ranging from Rs60 billion to Rs70 billion per year.