August 15, 1999
President Tarar has asked experts
to suggest ways to bring down prices of medicines to an affordable level in the country. I
am no expert but offer my advice anyway.
Number one, the government should put an end to transfer pricing
indulged in by the multinational pharmaceutical companies. The practice allows these
companies to purchase raw materials from their parent companies at an exorbitant price.
This in turn provides pretext to charge exorbitant prices by systametically increasing the
cost of production drastically.
This also allows the multinational pharmaceutical companies to bleed
the economy by transfer huge amounts of foreign exchange for importing raw materials which
could be secured for one-tenth the price from one of many other sources. The scam should
Secondly, the government should ask the multinational companies to
spent more money on research and development within the country to produce more
life-saving products rather than flooding the market with such secondary products as cough
syrups, vitamins, etc., etc. As as there are over 200 cough syrups available in the
Thirdly, the corrupting of medical professional by the pharmaceuticals
should be stopped. It is uncommon for these companies, particularly, the multinationals,
to bribe the doctors through various means. This include renovation of the clinics and
homes, all-expense paid holidays in the hill stations for the a doctor and his/her family,
expensive gifts. The real victim of this unholy alliance between the pharmaceuticals and
the professionals in the healthcare sector is the patient.
It is necessary that the government should take legislative measure to
end the corruption of the medical profession by the multinationals. As is, these companies
enjoy an unmatched rapport with the government but have only returned the favour with
threats of withdrawing their investement which actually tantamounts to blackmail.
It is also imperative that the government should refuse to get
blackmailed by these multinationals who always try to give an impression as if they are
doing a big favour to the people of this country while in fact they keep on reaping huge
profits which could be envious even to their parent companies outside.
The time has come that these multinationals be put in their place for
the greater interest of the people.
TIME SAVING AND LOSING BOTH ARE MONEY
It say for all that time is money means time saving is money. But I say
that time losing is also money. In case of Household Sector, people save their time by
doing useful and effective work, by investing the time in worthwhile thing to get benefit,
so it is called time saving and investing in good things ultimately means time saving is
On the other hand, in case of Business Sector such as banking,
insurance and other f nancial institutions which pay the customers for the lost of time
because in their industry time losing is money. They hold their accounts for a month or so
and after the completion of certain period, they pay premium or interest. So, they are
holding money and losing time to earn money. So, ultimately, in that sense time losing is
Recently announced Trade Policy fails to provide
any indication of government's intention to achieve export lead growth in the country. The
whole emphasis is on providing additional incentives for the traditional exports.
Pakistan's exports are not more than a few commodities be it rice or cotton yarn. The
country still produces lower end products for which market size is on a constant decline.
Unless the country goes for real value-addition, quality production, diversified products
and markets it will be difficult to retains country's share in the global market. Please
wake-up before you miss the train.