Pakistan Pharma Among World's Top 3 Fastest Growing

Pakistan pharmaceutical industry and market are among the world's top 3 fastest growing, according to IQVIA health market research firm based in the United States. Pakistan’s domestic pharmaceutical firms sales have grown 13.1% compounded annually in the last 4 years, outperforming multinational companies (MNCs), which saw global growth of 9.34% CAGR. Pakistan's pharma sector is growing faster than in other emerging markets like Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Russia and Vietnam.

Emerging faster than the MNCs, the quarterly revenues of the local Pakistani pharmaceutical companies surged to Rs. 320 billion in the quarter ending March 31, 2020, compared with Rs. 195.75 billion as of March 31, 2016. Similarly, MNCs increased their quarterly sales in Pakistan to Rs. 143.2 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2020, up from Rs. 100.2 billion in Q12016, according to Pakistani media reports. Pakistan exported $217.04 million worth of pharma products during 2019, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.

Pakistan Pharma Growth Among Top Fastest in the World. Source: IQVIA

Medicine spending growth in the emerging pharmaceutical  ("pharmerging") markets continues to slow compared to the past five years and is projected to grow at 5–8% through 2023, according to US-based global market research firm IQVIA.

Pakistan Pharma Exports

Although China, Brazil and India have the largest medicine spending within the pharmerging markets, Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan are forecast to have the greatest growth between 2019 and 2023. Pharmerging market growth continues to derive primarily from increasing per capita use, but some markets are seeing wider uptake of newer medicines as patients’ ability to afford their share of costs improves with economic growth.

Pakistan's top 5 pharma companies, including GSK, Abbott, and AGP Pharma,  saw their profits jump 37% in Q1/2020 over the same period last year, to Rs2.6 billion. In the same quarter, profits of 13 consumer giants, including Nestle, Packages, Pakistan Tobacco and Colgate, remained flat amid COVID19 pandemic.

In growing recognition of Pakistan's pharmaceutical sector, the  US-based Gilead Sciences recently chose to license COVID19 drug Remdesivir to Pakistan's Ferozsons pharmaceutical company. Other Remdisivir licensees include pharma companies in India. Gilead said it signed non-exclusive licensing pacts with 5 generic drugmakers based in India and Pakistan, allowing them make and sell Remdesivir for 127 countries.

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Riaz Haq said…
Pharmaceuticals in Pakistan presently form a USD 3.2 billion industry, growing at a swift 15%
annually. The sector has seen massive changes over the past decade, providing essential health
care products to citizens and introducing them to revolutionary pharmaceutical preparations.
Today, there are more than 700 pharmaceutical manufacturing units in Pakistan exporting
products worth over $200 million to more than 60 countries.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan Rolls Out First Locally Produced #Ventilators to Fight #COVID19 . #ImranKhan has inaugurated the production unit in Haripur #KPK with the capacity to manufacture 300 ventilators a month and handed over first batch to NDMA. #coronavirus

Pakistan has rolled out its first ever locally produced ventilators for deployment at hospitals treating coronavirus patients as the national tally of COVID-19 infections rises to nearly 232,000.

The pandemic has killed about 4,800 people since late February when it reached the South Asian nation of about 220 million; however, officials have reported a consistent decline in new infections and deaths from the infection over the past week.

Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday inaugurated the production unit and handed over the first batch of ‘SafeVent SP100’ portable ventilators to the national disaster management agency.

The facility in the northern town of Haripur has a production capacity of up to 300 ventilators a month.

An official statement quoted Khan as describing production as “a landmark achievement” for Pakistan, which has long been criticized for importing crucial medical supplies, including ventilators, despite having developed sophisticated nuclear weapons.

Pakistan’s public health care system has for decades suffered from neglect, lack of funding and corruption, which encouraged expensive hospitals in the private sector to flourish in a country where about 25 percent of the population live below the national poverty line.

Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry recently told parliament there were only 1,400 functioning ventilators in government hospitals across the country when the pandemic hit it, immediately leading to an acute shortage of the life-saving equipment for critical coronavirus patients.

Pakistan’s close ally China, however, swiftly stepped in and sent urgent relief supplies, including hundreds of ventilators, millions of masks and testing kits, worth more than $55 million, enabling Islamabad to deal with the unfolding health-related crisis.

The United States also has pledged millions of dollars in new aid for Pakistan to help combat the ailment. President Donald Trump’s administration has already donated 100 ventilators to Islamabad out of a promised 200 machines.

Chaudhry, while hailing the U.S. “gesture of friendship,” said in a statement that Pakistan, in a short span of four months, has now begun its own large-scale production of sanitizers and personal protection equipment, noting the medical supplies are already being exported to the United States.

"In the next three years, Pakistan will have its own big medical and electromagnetic industry and I have no doubts that USA will be our major client,” the minister pledged.

Chaudhry also said three new manufacturing facilities in the public and private sector are being installed for commercial production of ventilators. He noted that Pakistan annually imports medical supplies worth more than $2 billion and pays an additional $1 billon in service agreements to run the equipment.

The minister said domestic production of medical equipment will save Pakistan much-needed foreign exchange and the country will be self-sufficient in next five years so it will not have to import any medical supplies.
Riaz Haq said…
#CoronaVirus Protection Gear Sales Reversing #Pakistan #Exports Fall. Exports of #PPE, #masks and other protective gear -- a new market -- have increased, says Abdul Razak Dawood. New export orders for #garments coming in. #COVID19 via @BloombergQuint

Pakistan has “really moved fast into that area,” Dawood said, referring to PPE. The current year should be a better one than last, he said. South Asia’s second-largest economy, whose exports dropped 7% in the year ended June, isn’t alone in stepping up production of PPEs. Neighbor India has become the world’s second-biggest maker of PPE kits after a shortage at the beginning of the outbreak pushed it to boost local manufacturing. Supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic has meant Pakistan secured its first sportswear order from Hugo Boss AG, according to Ijaz Akhtar Khokhar, chief coordinator at Pakistan Readymade Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

Pakistan plans to give tax incentives to any global brand that opens an office in the country, said trade adviser Dawood. The South Asian nation is looking to spur growth in the economy after its first contraction in 68 years in the year ended June. While exports dropped in seven out of the past 12 months, the rupee’s depreciation -- by more than 50% since late 2017 -- has made the nation’s shipments competitive globally, said Dawood. Dawlance, a local home appliances maker, exported microwaves to Bangladesh for the first time, while D.G. Khan Cement Ltd. has sent clinker to new markets such as China and Philippines. The cement maker has another order from the Philippines for supply of 20,000 tons as well as making more shipments to China, according to CFO Inayatullah Niazi.

Riaz Haq said…
#IMF predicts #economic recovery in #Pakistan next year. Measures include: Rs1.2 trillion relief package, cash transfers to 6.2 million daily wagers, fast tax refunds for #exports, financial support to #SMEs & #farmers, #construction industry incentives.

A gradual recovery in Pakistan is expected in the fiscal year 2021 as the country’s economy reopens, says a report released by the Inter­natio­nal Monetary Fund (IMF).

The report — “Policy Act­ions Taken by Countries” – reviews various steps Pakis­tan has taken since March to deal with the Covid-19 crisis.

The IMF notes that the near-term economic outlook of the country has worsened notably, and growth is estimated at –0.4 per cent in FY 2020.

According to this report, since mid-April, the federal government, in coordination with the provinces, has been gradually easing lockdown arrangements, by allowing ‘low-risk industries’ to restart operation and ‘small retail shops’ to reopen with newly developed Standard Operating Procedures.

In addition, restrictions on domestic and international movements have been lifted and educational institutes are expected to restart on July 15. ‘Selective’ lockdown arrangements remain in place, through the closure of shops on weekends and the sealing of specific areas of high risk.

A relief package worth Rs1.2 trillion was annou­nced on March 24, which is now being implemented and will be pursued in the fiscal year 2020-21. The report then details various measures taken by both federal and provincial governments to ease the economic impact of this pandemic.

Key measures by the federal government: elimination of import duties on emergency health equipment; cash transfers to 6.2 million daily wage workers, cash transfers to more than 12m low-income families; accelerated tax refunds to the export industry, out of which 65pc have already been disbursed, and financial support to SMEs and the agriculture sector.

The report notes that the economic package also earmarks resources for an accelerated procurement of wheat, support for health and food supplies, an emergency contingency fund, and a transfer to the Nat­ional Disaster Management Authority for the purchase of Covid-19 related equipment.

The report also mentions the provision of tax incentives to the construction sector to address the acute employment needs generated by the lockdowns.

The provincial governments, according to this report, have been also implementing supportive fiscal measures, consisting of cash grants to the low-income households, tax relief and additional health spending.
Riaz Haq said…
Despite COVID-19 outburst, agri sector expands by 2.67pc

Positive growth of 2.90 per cent in important crops was observed due to an increase in production of wheat, rice, and maize at 2.45 per cent, 2.89 per cent, and 6.01 per cent, respectively. Similarly, the increase has been witnessed in Fertilizer (5.81 per cent), Leather products (4.96 per cent), Rubber products (4.31 per cent), Paper & Board (4.23 per cent) and Non-metallic mineral products (1.82 per cent). Besides these sectors, the pharmaceuticals also remained functional during the pandemic and in fact registered growth.

The PES 2019-20 disclosed that the pace of contraction diminished in the pharmaceutical sector as it registered 5.38 per cent decline during July to March in FY-2020 as compared to 8.66 per cent decline in the corresponding period. Also, the pharmaceutical sector recorded the highest sales in March while it fetched $1.3 million Foreign Direct Investment in April 2020. Once the textile industry was leading exports of the country but now the pharmaceutical sector has been identified as the sector that could enhance the country’s exports to boost the country’s foreign exchange reserves. Pakistan’s pharmaceutical industry is an essential, high technology and a strategically important industry and at the present growth rate the market size for pharmaceuticals will double in the next 10 years in Pakistan.


But the impact of the pandemic will be severe in the coming months as the IMF has revised down its world GDP projections and now expects a contraction of 4.9 per cent in 2020. “Apart from the last three months, the next twelve months will also be very tough for the Pakistan economy,” said Taha Khan Javed, Head of Equities at Al Meezan Investment. The outlook for Pakistan GDP is also precarious with growth for next fiscal year expected to be only 1-2 per cent, much below the normal growth 3-5 per cent we have seen in the past, he added. He said that because of slowdown in economic activity especially in the informal sector it is expected that millions of people will be unemployed, while exports will also remain under pressure.

Yet, he added, few industries including the pharmaceuticals of the country can play a vital role in their capacity to help the national economy. While suggesting a way forward in this regard, Taha said that the pharmaceutical industry should ramp up their production capacity.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan develops first bloodless, affordable dialysis machine for kidney disease treatment. Developers are MIT & Harvard graduates Farrukh Usman, Michael, Wollowitz, Eric Flachbart and Dr. Frank Rudolph. #medicaldevices

By the time people are diagnosed with advanced-stage kidney disease and recommended dialysis treatments, they have been through a lot of pain and agony. To make the treatment process bloodless, hassle-free and affordable, Pakistan’s first dialysis machine has been developed by biotechnology startup in Lahore led by experts of a US-based company called Byonyks Medical Devices with support from Pakistan’s Ignite, which funds innovative startups, and Angel investors.

“Robo-Kidney is an affordable and bloodless machine that will allow kidney patients to receive dialysis treatment from the comfort of their homes”, says founder and CEO of Byonyks, Farrukh Usman - a Pakistani-American innovator. The machine also protects them from diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis C infections – a risk posed by traditional dialysis practices. Designed in consultation with Pakistan’s leading nephrologists and medical expert, the machine has been developed to improve the quality of life of people suffering from kidney failure.

The company, founded by MIT and Harvard graduates and medical device experts, Farrukh Usman, Michael, Wollowitz, Eric Flachbart and Dr. Frank Rudolph, aims to offer low-cost, affordable and widely accessible state-of-the-art medical devices for the developing world to revolutionize healthcare therapy for millions across the world. They have also received a patent for their technology.

20 million sufferers
More than 20 million Pakistanis have kidney diseases. Two treatments for those with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are kidney transplants and dialysis. In Pakistan, only hemodialysis machines are available which removes a patient’s blood, run it through a dialysis machine to remove toxins and excess fluid and return cleaned blood to the body. Hemodialysis is performed at a dialysis center several times a month, each session lasting a few hours, making it a tiresome, arduous and expensive process. Another option now gaining popularity is at-home dialysis performed while the patients are asleep at night. Known as automated peritoneal dialysis (APD), this bloodless method of dialysis with the use of a special machine removes toxins and excess fluid from the body by instilling fluid in the belly and subsequently draining it.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan plans industrial hemp production for $25 billion global #cannabis market. It grows wild in the country. It does not contain significant quantities of high-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It can be used to produced CBD for medical purposes.

Pakistan has unveiled plans to allow the industrial production of hemp, spurring hopes farmers and businesses in the conservative Islamic country will be able to tap into the lucrative global cannabis market.

The move comes as Prime Minister Imran Khan's government struggles to boost the country's foreign exchange coffers that have been drained by a struggling economy, fiscal deficits and inflation.

"This hemp market could provide Pakistan with some $1 billion in the next three years and we are in a process of making a full-fledged plan for this purpose," science and technology minister Fawad Chaudhry told reporters Wednesday.

Hemp is a type of cannabis plant containing cannabidiol (CBD) which advocates say has numerous medicinal and relaxing properties.

It does not contain significant quantities of high-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Chaudhry said the industrial hemp market was worth some $25 billion globally and several countries were relaxing laws targeting cannabis-based products such as CBD oils.

Initially, the government will control hemp production, Chaudry said, but private businesses and farmers will be allowed to enter the market at a later date.

He added that with cotton production in Pakistan declining due to various factors, hemp provided farmers with a viable alternative.

In conservative Pakistan, where the consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden for Muslims, many people are surprisingly open to using cannabis, with the spongy, black hash made from marijuana grown in the country's tribal belt and neighboring Afghanistan the preferred variant of the drug.

Across the subcontinent people have been cultivating cannabis and smoking hash for centuries.

The plant predates the arrival of Islam in the region, with reference to cannabis appearing in the sacred Hindu Atharva Veda text describing its medicinal and ritual uses.

Hemp grows almost as a weed in parts of Pakistan -- including in great abundance in the capital, where huge bushes can be seen sprouting at traffic roundabouts.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s pharmaceutical industry has emerged among the fastest-growing industry in the world, as per a report issued by IQVIA – an American global information and technology solution company. The Pakistani pharmaceutical companies have shown a cumulative average growth rate or CAGR of 13.1 percent in the last four years, as compared to a CAGR of 9.34 percent of Multinational Companies (MNCs), the report added.

Overall pharmaceutical sales for the outgoing fiscal year ended June 30, 2020 clocked in at Rs453.5 billion, posting a growth of 9 percent. On a quarterly basis, the overall sales for the quarter ended June 30, 2020 grew 4 percent to clock in at Rs111.12 billion. In overall sales during the aforementioned period, the share of national drug-makers was 68 percent, up 10 percent, while that of foreign ones stood at 32 percent, a growth of 8 percent.

As per IQVIA report, medicine spending growth in the pharmerging markets continues to slow compared to the past five years and is projected to grow at 5 to 8 percent through 2023. Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan are also forecast to have the greatest growth between 2019 and 2023.

The report forecasted that the global pharmaceutical market will exceed $1.5 trillion by 2023 growing at a 3 to 6 percent compound annual growth rates over the next five years – a notable slowdown from the 6.3 percent seen over the past five years.

According to the Pakistan Economic Survey 2019-20, the pace of contraction diminished in the pharmaceutical sector. It registered 5.38 percent decline during July to March in FY-2020 as compared to 8.66 percent decline in the corresponding period. Similarly, the sector recorded the highest sales in March while it fetched $1.3 million Foreign Direct Investment in April 2020. However, the provisional GDP growth rate for Financial Year 2020 is estimated at a negative growth of 0.38 percent. The Mckinsey & Company in a report commissioned by the Planning Commission of Pakistan and Asian Development Bank identified the pharmaceutical industry as a sunrise industry.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan has ‘potential to develop #vaccines’. Experts believe second wave of #coronavirus #pandemic will not be severe in Pakistan. #Covid_19

Pakistan has the potential to develop vaccines as the country achieved the capability in this area a few years ago, including the availability of specialists and the technology, experts in the fields of infections control and immunisations said on Monday.

Dr Obaid Ali, former federal secretary for biological drugs and Dr Rafiq Khanani, President, Pakistan Infection Control Society (PICS), said that pharmaceutical manufacturing from around the world was shifting to India and China, but unfortunately vaccine development was stalled in Pakistan over the past decade.

“Pakistan has been capable of developing vaccines. The NIH [National Institute of Health] Islamabad has all the capabilities to make a vaccine… there are also vaccine specialists and technologists in the country,” Dr Khanani told The Express Tribune in an exclusive interview.

“Unfortunately, vaccine development process had been stalled in the country over the past decade,” he said.

His views were endorsed by Dr Ali. “The manufacturing of Pakistan’s pharma companies is dependent on the neighbouring countries, especially China and India,” he said.

Unfortunately, Dr Ali added, the vaccine industry had been paralysed and as a result even “our basic vaccine requirement” was met through imports. “These vaccines are imported through international institutions and commercial companies.”

Responding to a question about the Covid-19 vaccines and trials, Dr Ali said that the technique to develop the Covid-19 vaccine was new. “This technique is safe and effective but only time will tell how useful it is after which the claim of its efficacy could be substantiated,” he added.

“The trial for the vaccine has been completed in different countries. Finally, the trial phase got under way. There is a significant evidence of a lifetime of immunity but if a major change is observed in the structure of the virus later, the vaccine may not work,” he said.

About Pakistan, Dr Ali opined that the country might not be in too much need of the vaccines because it seems that “most of our population has developed immunity against coronavirus”. He added that a second virus of this family already existed in Pakistan against which “our antibodies are working”.

“These antibodies have the potential to be effective against Covid-19 too. In the presence of this evidence, it can be said that our large population has developed immunity,” said Dr Ali, adding that many theories and estimates regarding the virus proved wrong in Pakistan.

When asked about the second wave of the pandemic, Prof Dr Khanani opined that the severity of coronavirus would be limited in Pakistan as compared to the first phase. “The immunity of the Pakistanis is one of the highest in Asian countries, while respiratory immunity system in particular, is very strong.”

Referring to the first wave of Covid-19 in Pakistan, he said that due to improved immunity among the population, the severity of the virus had declined significantly in Pakistan as the number of new cases were decreasing gradually.

“Now, this virus is spreading less. In hotspots where it is still spreading, it is showing a declining trend. Immunity has led to changes in the structure of the virus, which is reducing its ability to spread,” he said, adding that although, the second wave would not be that severe in Pakistan, people with weak immune systems needed to be careful.

He said that several trials of Covid-19 vaccine were in the final stages and the human trials of six of these vaccines had been started but the results of the tested vaccines were not yet known to the world, including Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan ramps up #COVID19 drug #remdesivir production under Gilead deal. #Lahore-based Ferozsons has 100,000 doses in stock as demand has declined in Pakistan. It's exporting the drug to the #Caribbean, #Kenya and the #Philippines. via @financialtimes

India and Pakistan have ramped up production of the coronavirus drug remdesivir under a licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences, but onward distribution to other developing countries has been slow.

Vamsi Krishna Bandi, managing director at pharma company Hetero, said there was no longer a remdesivir shortage in India — the country with the second-highest number of coronavirus infections in the world — and that the business had delivered about 800,000 doses of the drug domestically since starting production in June.

But while doctors in India are prescribing the experimental Covid-19 treatment, the majority of the 127 countries in the Gilead licensing deal have yet to start buying it.

Few countries “have actually put in a system for procurement”, said Mr Bandi, adding that few African countries in particular were placing orders. Hetero has exported to 25 countries, while Cipla, another Indian manufacturer, said it had only shipped to South Africa and Nepal.

Developed as a potential treatment to the haemorrhagic fever Ebola, Gilead’s remdesivir inhibits the development of viruses in the body and was found to shorten recovery time from Covid-19. It received emergency use authorisation in the US in May after a large randomised control trial of more than a thousand patients showed that it cut the time to recovery to 11 days, from 15 days in the placebo group.

More recent trials in July, showed the drug may also reduce the risk of death, suggesting the antiviral treatment could do more than just speed up recovery.

Since May, Gilead has signed licensing agreements with nine generic pharmaceutical companies in India, Pakistan and Egypt to supply remdesivir to 127 developing countries, following a model pioneered during the Aids/HIV epidemic.

“Currently, our licensees have made remdesivir available to patients in need in more than 40 countries, and we expect this number will continue to grow over the coming months,” Gilead said, adding “we are pleased by the rapid progress made by this effort”.

Osman Waheed, chief executive of Ferozsons Laboratories Limited, one of Pakistan’s largest pharma companies, said that he had a stockpile of more than 100,000 remdesivir doses after waiting weeks for healthcare authorities in Islamabad to approve exports.

Ferozsons is now shipping the drug to the Caribbean, Kenya and the Philippines, though is still sitting on large stocks after the Covid-19 cases in Pakistan declined.

“We have 100,000 doses today, we have nowhere near that level of demand in Pakistan,” said Mr Waheed. “The [coronavirus] burden on the healthcare system has almost dropped off a cliff.”

Riaz Haq said…
Citi #Pharma that has the largest #manufacturing plant in #Pakistan's pharma industry - the size of 24 football fields in Kasur - and soon with the ability to make more than 10 million capsules and tablets a day is going for #IPO on #Karachi Stock Exchange

Citi Pharma Ltd., a raw material supplier to the Pakistani units of GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Abbott Laboratories, plans to raise as much as 2.85 billion rupees ($18 million), in potentially the biggest initial share sale by a drugmaker in the nation.

The Lahore-based company plans to sell shares within the next six weeks, according to Chief Executive Officer Rizwan Ahmad. The initial public offering may exceed the 2.8 billion rupees raised by AGP Ltd. in 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Citi Pharma, which makes active pharmaceutical ingredients, or APIs, is joining a global rush to raise capital as equity markets surge. The nation’s benchmark KSE-100 Index has gained about 70% since March 25 when countries across the world began lockdowns, helping revive the nation’s IPO market, which is poised for a record year.

The company will use about two-third of the IPO funds to build a 50-bed hospital in Lahore. The balance will be used to help construct two new plants, which will start operations by the end of this year, said Finance Director Amir Zia.

Read more about the IPO boom across Asia

The expansion will allow the company to start manufacturing branded drugs. It will also make medicines for other companies. It is already in talks with Glaxo, Searle Co., and Martin Dow, said Ahmad.

The company’s production facility near Lahore that spans 47 acres – about 24 soccer fields -- was acquired from the Army Welfare Trust in 2012. The latest expansion will give it capacity to produce over 10 million tablets and capsules a day.

The company’s revenue has increased 36% annually on average, while gross margins have remained at about 13% in the past five years. That measure will rise as the company begins selling branded generics, Zia said. The company forecasts revenue will increase more than three times to 12 billion rupees by the year ending June 2023.

The company plans to offer 35% of its equity by selling 72.7 million shares at 28 rupees a share with an upper limit of 40%, according to its financial adviser Topline Securities Pakistan Ltd.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan is a long-established actor in the medical devices global value chain (GVC), a multi-billion
global dollar industry covering a wide spectrum of products from inexpensive, single use items such
as bandages and dressings, to high-cost, state of the art capital equipment, such as magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) machines.

For years, Sialkot, Pakistan has been a traditional global cluster
for export-oriented contract manufacturing of precision metal instruments used in general surgery.
Success to date has been based on decades of production experience passed down generation to
generation, combined with low-cost labor supply. However, changing dynamics in the global medical
device industry mean that past drivers of competitive advantage are becoming less relevant. Pakistan
has seen its medical devices exports plateau in recent years as new products and competitors have
entered the market. In order to sustain its participation in the industry, Pakistan needs to adopt a
specific growth strategy based on improved efficiencies, entry into new markets and diversification
of production.
Since the turn of the century, the global medical devices industry has experienced considerable
growth, reaching US$360B in 2017, as populations have expanded and aged, diseases spread and
health care coverage increased. This growth has created new opportunities but it has also been
accompanied by significant changes in the industry that have important implications for Pakistan’s
sustained participation. First, technological advancements in surgical techniques and production
capabilities have become to shift the demand away from traditional surgical instruments to new,
smaller and smarter tools that reduce patient risk and recovery time. Second, high health care costs
and regulatory requirements have led to the restructuring of the value chain around fewer, larger
and more diversified firms; this has created considerable barriers for entry in established markets.
Third, in response to these pressures, lead firms are consolidating production in select locations
with strong capabilities in a diverse range of products, from surgical instruments to highly regulated
implantable devices. Opportunities for growth still exist in emerging markets, where healthcare
expenditure is increasing, however, this window will be limited as lead firms seek to gain market
share in these growth regions. As a result, as has occurred in multiple globalizing industries, small,
less innovative firms struggle to maintain their positions in key markets and are often pushed down
the chain into low-margin contract manufacturing activities.
While Pakistan’s exports have grown steadily along with global industry trade in the past decade to
reach US$355M in 2016, Pakistan remains a small-scale exporter globally of surgical instruments and
recent years show a notable slowdown as new products and competitors have entered the market
and internal human capital deficiencies and inefficient production practices have stifled the industry.
In order to sustain its position in the industry, Pakistan needs to adopt a specific growth strategy
that engages both public and private sector actors towards common goals. Specifically, Pakistan
should upgrade production processes to increase productivity, diversify its product portfolio and
strengthen ties with emerging markets. The country’s past success in textiles and apparel also offer
an opportunity for the country to become a more significant player in the medical textiles industry.
Policies supporting these upgrading trajectories will need to capitalize on strengths of the industry,
including its reputation as a low-cost supplier and existing geographical concentration of firms while
also addressing human capital, institutionalization, and production challenges.
Riaz Haq said…
7 Countries to Benefit From a COVID-19 Technology Access Pool - BORGEN

Chile, Dominic Republic, Indonesia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Sudan and Tunisia.

Several pharmaceutical companies have joined the Solidarity Call to Action, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) initiative to share research among public and private entities via a COVID-19 technology access pool. This essential movement aims to eliminate economic obstacles to accessing a vaccine. Thus far, 40 WHO Member States have joined the Solidarity Call to Action, with more on the way. The increasing membership suggests a possible global commitment to open research and tech sharing to nations that are lacking technologically. Here is a closer look at seven countries that would benefit from a global commitment to a COVID-19 technology access pool.

COVID-19 ravaged densely populated cities in Pakistan. Economists project its poverty rate, which had decreased extraordinarily throughout much of the last decade, will soar in the pandemic’s wake. The UN recommended that “making essential health services available to those in need and protecting health systems” should be prioritized. Certainly, the global community’s prioritization of a COVID-19 technology access pool aligns with the UN’s goals and suggestions for Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
What are protein subunit vaccines and how could they be used against COVID-19? | Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Example: Livzon-Searle Pakistan covid19 vaccine)

Subunit vaccines contain fragments of protein and/or polysaccharide from the pathogen, which have been carefully studied to identify which combinations of these molecules are likely to produce a strong and effective immune response. By restricting the immune system’s access to the pathogen in this way, the risk of side effects is minimised. Such vaccines are also relatively cheap and easy to produce, and more stable than those containing whole viruses or bacteria.

A downside of this precision is that the antigens used to elicit an immune response may lack molecular structures called pathogen-associated molecular patterns which are common to a class of pathogen. These structures can be read by immune cells and recognised as danger signals, so their absence may result in a weaker immune response. Also, because the antigens do not infect cells, subunit vaccines mainly only trigger antibody-mediated immune responses. Again, this means the immune response may be weaker than with other types of vaccines. To overcome this problem, subunit vaccines are sometimes delivered alongside adjuvants (agents that stimulate the immune system) and booster doses may be required.

All subunit vaccines are made using living organisms, such as bacteria and yeast, which require substrates on which to grow them, and strict hygiene to avoid contamination with other organisms. This makes them more expensive to produce than chemically-synthesised vaccines, such as RNA vaccines. The precise manufacturing method depends on the type of subunit vaccine being produced. Protein subunit vaccines, such as the recombinant hepatitis B vaccine, are made by inserting the genetic code for the antigen into yeast cells, which are relatively easy to grow and capable of synthesising large amounts of protein. The yeast is grown in large fermentation tanks, and then split open, allowing the antigen to be harvested. This purified protein is then added to other vaccine components, such as preservatives to keep it stable, and adjuvants to boost the immune response – in this case alum. For polysaccharide or conjugate vaccines, the polysaccharide is produced by growing bacteria in industrial bioreactors, before splitting them open and harvesting the polysaccharide from their cell walls. In the case of conjugate vaccines, the protein that the polysaccharide is attached to must also be prepared by growing a different type of bacteria in separate bioreactors. Once its proteins are harvested, they are chemically attached to the polysaccharide, and then the remaining vaccine components added.

Riaz Haq said…
V-01 is an innovative novel coronavirus recombinant protein vaccine developed by Livzon and the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. V-01 belongs to the technical route of recombinant protein vaccine among the other five technical routes of the novel coronavirus vaccine, which can be transported and stored at 2-8°C.

During the development of V-01, Shanghai Medicilon Inc. (Medicilon) undertook the drug safety evaluation. Since the establishment of the V-01 project, Medicilon has relied on a strong technical team and R&D platform to gather experts, technology, equipment and other resources in order to shorten the R&D time.

The development of a novel coronavirus vaccine is a battle against time and the virus. The colleagues of Medicilon who participated in the development of V-01 worked overtime and overcome the difficulties during the development continuously in 4 months to ensure that every experiment is carried out on time and every analysis results are provided on time.

Medicilon congratulates Livzon on its milestone and wishes V-01 will be launched soon to help prevent and control the novel coronavirus epidemic. Medicilon is proud to be a part to contribute the research and development of the novel coronavirus vaccine.

About Livzon
Livzon Pharmaceutical Group Inc., established in January 1985 with registered capital of RMB 953 million, is a comprehensive pharmaceutical group company integrating pharmaceutical R&D, production and sales, with more than 9,000 employees. In 1993, Livzon A and B shares have been listed. In 2014, the company completed the conversion from B shares to H shares, making it one of the few listed pharmaceutical companies with A+H shares in the capital market.

Livzon is committed to ensuring effective, safe and stable products. The Group’s pharmaceutical enterprises have established a sound quality management system. As of 2018, Total 31 production lines of 4 pharmaceutical subsidiaries have passed GMP certification. 28 varieties of 4 API companies have passed GMP certification and other 11 varieties have passed veterinary medicine GMP certification. 15 API varieties have passed the field inspection of international certification and obtained 20 international certification certificates.
Riaz Haq said…
For the United States there are three different influenza vaccine production technologies approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)external icon:

egg-based flu vaccine,
cell-based flu vaccine, and
recombinant flu vaccine.
All commercially available flu vaccines in the United States are made by private sector manufacturers. Different manufacturers use different production technologies, but all flu vaccines meet FDA safety and effectiveness requirements. Different vaccines have different indications. See Influenza Vaccines — United States, 2019-2020 Influenza Season for specific indications.

There is a third production technology for flu vaccines that was approved for use in the U.S. market in 2013 and that involves using recombinant technologyexternal icon. Recombinant flu vaccines do not require having a candidate vaccine virus (CVV) sample to produce. Instead, recombinant vaccines are created synthetically. To make a recombinant vaccine, flu scientists first obtain DNA, i.e., genetic instructions, for making a surface protein called hemagglutinin (HA) found on influenza viruses. HA is an antigen, which is a feature of a flu virus that triggers the human immune system to create antibodies that specifically target the virus. This DNA for making flu virus HA antigen is then combined with a baculovirus, a virus that infects invertebrates. This results in a “recombinant” virus. The role of the baculovirus is to help transport the DNA instructions for making flu virus HA antigen into a host cell. Once the recombinant virus enters a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) qualified host cell line, it instructs the cells to rapidly produce the HA antigen. This antigen is grown in bulk, collected, purified, and then packaged as recombinant flu vaccine. These vaccines are then quality and potency tested by FDA prior to FDA approving release of the vaccine lots to the public.
Riaz Haq said…
Citi Pharma to raise Rs2.8 billion in IPO

Pakistan based Citi Pharma Ltd is planning to raise up to Rs2.8 billion by offering a 35 per cent stake to institutional and ordinary investors in an initial public offer (IPO) on the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX).

The book building phase of the IPO will he held on 15th and 16th June where high net worth individuals and financial institution will participate. The company will issue all new shares through book building at the floor price of Rs28 per share, which includes a premium of Rs18 apiece. It means Citi Pharma is guaranteed to raise at least Rs2 billion in the IPO. However, based on the interest from investors during the book building process, the strike price can rise by 40 per cent (Rs39.20 a share), thus helping the company collect Rs2.8 billion. After the book building process, successful bidders will be provisionally allotted 75 per cent of the issue size (54.5 million shares). The remaining 25 per cent (18.1 million shares) will then be offered to retail investors at the strike price.

Although the company makes many drugs for consumers, its major source of revenue is the manufacturing and sale of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) — key substances that make a finished pharmaceutical product. Major drug makers like GlaxoSmithKline, The Searle Company, Barret Hodgson and Martin Dow buy their APIs from Citi Pharma. Citi Pharma is raising new funds for three major reasons. Firstly, the company is planning to expand its existing capacity of 3,600 tonnes per annum of paracetamol to 6,000 tonnes per annum. That’s partly because the demand for paracetamol has surged in the wake of Covid-19. In addition, the company says it plans to add new APIs as well as pharmaceutical formulations (final products) to its existing product line.

The pharma industry in Pakistan is worth Rs501 billion. It grew at an annualised growth rate of 11.4 per cent between 2016 and 2020. Of the 650 pharma companies, only 31 are multinationals. Local firms have a collective share of 60 per cent while multinationals control the rest of the market.

Citi Pharma’s revenue was a little more than Rs1 billion in 2015-16, which grew to Rs3.5 billion in 2019-20. This reflects an annualised growth rate of 36.5 per cent. Similarly, net profit for 2019-20 was Rs145.6 million after increasing at an annual average of 27.7 per cent. Net profit for the first half of 2020-21 amounted to Rs168.5 million.
Riaz Haq said…
Ministry of science and technology to facilitate vaccine development process in Pakistan: Shibli Faraz

In his introductory remarks, Coordinator General, COMSTECH, Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, welcomed the participants and said that it is our national responsibility to use our capabilities to help in the development of human vaccines.

He assured that COMSTECH would provide every sort of possible support in this regard.

The meeting was attended by representatives from private sector leading pharmaceutical companies of Pakistan including Searle Pakistan Ltd, Ferozsons Laboratories, Amson Vaccines and Pharma, and Getz Pharma (Pvt). Ltd, Focus and Rulz Pharmaceuticals (Pvt.) Limited.

In addition, senior officials and experts of premier R&D institutions of Pakistan i.e. National Institute of Health (NIH), International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi, National Center for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Faisalabad, Centre Excellence for Molecular Biology, University of Punjab were present in the meeting.

This meeting was started with the introduction of participants, their existing capacities in the field of manufacturing biologics and vaccines.

Detailed discussion was carried out for the enabling role of the Government of Pakistan.

Pharmaceutical companies explained in depth the bottlenecks faced by the industries to stay abreast with changes in the manufacturing of vaccines and biologics.

The Minister for Science and Technology entrusted responsibility to COMSTECH and National Institute of Health (NIH) for preparing a position paper to facilitate the industries and create sustainable linkage between industry and Research and Development institutions of Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
India wants to be the ‘pharmacy of the world.’ But first, it must wean itself from China

India has embarked on an ambitious plan to cut dependence on China for key raw materials as it seeks to become self-sufficient in its quest to be the “pharmacy of the world.”
However, India’s $42 billion pharmaceutical sector is heavily dependent on China for key active pharmaceutical ingredients or API — chemicals that are responsible for the therapeutic effect of drugs.
Estimates put India’s dependence on China at as much as 90% for certain drugs.

an estimate by the Trade Promotion Council, a government supported organization, puts the figure of API dependence on China at about 85%. Another independent study carried out in 2021 points out that while India’s API imports from China are at nearly 70%, its dependence on China for “certain life-saving antibiotics” is around 90%. Some drugs that are highly dependent on Chinese APIs include penicillin, cephalosporins and azithromycin, the report said.

That may be starting to change.

Under a government scheme launched two years ago, 35 APIs began to be produced at 32 plants across India in March. This is expected to reduce dependence on China by up to 35% before the end of the decade, according to an estimate by ratings firm ICRA Limited, the Indian affiliate of Moody’s.

The production linked incentive scheme was first launched in mid-2020, when military tensions with China were at a high. The PLI program aims to incentivize companies across all sectors to boost domestic manufacturing by $520 billion by 2025.

For the pharma sector, the government has earmarked over $2 billion worth of incentives for both private Indian companies and foreign players to start producing 53 APIs that India relies heavily on China for.

Some of India’s biggest pharmaceutical companies are involved in the scheme. They include Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Aurobindo Pharma, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Lupin and Cipla.

A total of 34 products were approved in the first phase of the scheme — and distributed amongst 49 players, according to assistant vice president at ICRA Limited, Deepak Jotwani.

“The first phase will result in reduction in imports from China by about 25-35% by 2029,” Jotwani estimated.

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