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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Comments

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.

http://www.ppma.org.pk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Final-Report-Pharma-Industry_August-10.pdf
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 https://www.voanews.com/south-central-asia/pakistan-rolls-out-first-locally-produced-ventilators

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
https://www.bloombergquint.com/global-economics/virus-protection-gear-sales-seen-reversing-pakistan-exports-fall 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…
VM Interactive, a #UK-based #digital #technology company, invests $250,000 in seed funding in #Pakistan’s #HealthTech #startup emeds.pk. #Covid_19 brings attention to #health sector | The Express Tribune
https://tribune.com.pk/story/2254458/angel-investors-eye-pakistans-health-start-up

The pandemic has brought healthcare sector to the fore in countries across the world and Pakistan’s health sector is no different. The coronavirus has exposed strengths and weaknesses in the system, which has caught the attention of angel investors.

Since the lockdown was imposed, online businesses enhanced their mark and the country’s health system witnessed a similar trend as well where a few large scale pharmacies initiated home delivery services and doctors set up e-clinics.

The trend of digitisation caught attention of VM Interactive, a UK-based digital technology company, which recently invested $250,000 in seed funding in Pakistan’s health-tech ecosystem through a locally indigenous start-up, emeds.pk.

VM interactive Chief Operating Officer Alex Kalavrezos said that having seen Pakistan’s tech industry grow by leaps and bounds, with the government focused on taking it to another level, the chance to invest in it during this time is an opportunity, which should not be missed.

“The recent pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities of healthcare systems around the globe, however, Pakistan is among the few countries that have performed relatively better,” Kalavrezos told The Express Tribune.

This shows that the country has the potential to rival some of the most developed health care systems around the world provided that a robust system is created for healthcare workers to flourish.

According to him, this was one reason why countless doctors and healthcare workers of Pakistani origin excel in western countries where healthcare systems are more developed.

“Having worked closely with the tech fraternity of Pakistan, I am familiar with the wealth of talent available here, so having first-hand knowledge and experience played a major role in convincing our investors,” Alex said.

The UK-based tech company is providing its support in terms of investments and training to the local start-up, which intends to revolutionise the concept of health-tech in Pakistan and counter the menace of fake medicines available widely in the market.

The management of the company plans to work with manufacturers to secure medicines and store them in its own warehouses rather than relying on third party suppliers.

“Medicines are temperature oriented and if a minimum temperature is not maintained, they expire,” said emeds.pk Chief Executive Officer Umaad Sheikh. “Small scale pharmacies do not consider this fact while operating business nor do they empower pharmacists to do so.

The start-up, which began operations in March 2020, received the seed investment last week.

Sheikh projected to receive next round of investment at the end of the year which would be utilised for expansion of company operations in Punjab and the rest of Pakistan.

Nevertheless, there are a handful of difficulties being faced and the company has sought help from the government in this regard.

“The government is working towards improving ease of doing business in Pakistan but to do that, a special zone for online investors should be materialised to cater to the needs of start-ups,” Sheikh said.

He stressed that tech-start-ups were the future and if government made efforts to uplift the ecosystem of this sector, all other sectors will improve alongside.

Currently, tech start-ups face issues in online payment facilities, banking sector paperwork and timely issuance of visas to foreign investors.

“The reason why most tech investors prefer India over Pakistan is the fact that our neighbouring country has a proper ecosystem in place and it facilitates them in all possible manners,” he said. “A little attention by the government in this regard will bring higher amount of tech investors to Pakistan.”
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. https://www.dawn.com/news/1568043

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…
#Pakistan #FDI jumps 88% to $2.561 billion in FY20. Top sectors: #power ($764.3m) & #communications ($663.9m). #China top source with net FDI of $844.1 million, followed by #Norway $402 million and #HongKong $190.7 million. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/688274-fdi-jumps-88pc-to-2-561bln-in-fy20

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan jumped 88 percent in the fiscal year of 2019/20, with most of the inflows going into power and communications sectors, led by China, numbers released by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) showed on Friday.


Pakistan attracted $2.561 billion FDI in July to June FY2020, compared with $1.362 billion in the previous fiscal year.

The direct investment, however, was lower than the government’s target of $4.34 billion set for FY2020. This was due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s negative impact on investments that were felt strongly.

The FDI was up 70.53 percent year-on-year to $174.8 million in June. It stood at $102.5 million during the same month of last fiscal year.

The SBP data showed that China remained the largest investor with a net FDI of $844.1 million in FY2020, followed by Norway (402 million) and Hong Kong ($190.7 million).

FDI in the power sector attracted $764.3 million foreign capital in July-June FY2020. However, investors pulled out $323.9 million from this sector in FY2019. The increase in the FDI in energy companies is attributed to an ongoing work on the CEPC-related projects especially in the thermal and coal-fired projects. Eight energy projects have been completed and nine are currently under construction.

Communications sector inflows in the FY2020 stood at $663.9 million, while the communications businesses saw an outflow of $55.7 million a year earlier.

Foreign funds managers pulled $241.3 million from the government securities such as treasury bills and Pakistan Investment Bonds in FY2020. That compared with $1 billion outflows in FY2019. Outflows from the stock market stood at $281.7 million, compared with $415.2 million in previous year.

Total foreign investment amounted to $2.038 billion in FY2020 against the outflows of $54.8 million in FY2019.
Riaz Haq said…
Despite COVID-19 outburst, agri sector expands by 2.67pc

https://nation.com.pk/01-Jul-2020/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 https://gn24.ae/a6c6ec73c73c000

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. https://bit.ly/3h0oDrX

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.

https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2020/08/24/pakistani-pharmaceutical-companies-have-clocked-annual-sales-of-rs453-5b-shown-cagr-of-13-1pc-in-the-last-four-years/

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 https://tribune.com.pk/story/2265019/pakistan-has-potential-to-develop-vaccines


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.
https://www.ft.com/content/d1d69573-c3f8-4e6b-b147-2f29e9721c0d 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.”

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