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Dec 04 - 10, 2000

Local production of vital drugs to benefit patients

The recent decision of the federal health ministry to allow local pharmaceutical companies to manufacture essential drugs, which had always remained in short supply, has eased the situation for some patients.

The patients were facing consistent difficulties because of the shortage of more than two dozen low-priced essential drugs, which were mostly manufactured by the multinational companies.

These multinationals were demanding manifold increase in the prices of these drugs, mostly used by chronic patients.

However, the ministry rejected their demand and contacted some reputed national pharmaceutical companies and convinced them to manufacture these drugs locally. Some of these drugs are now available at cheaper rates.

The 30 essential medicines, which are now being manufactured locally, included pyridostigmine (now being manufactured by Tabros Pharma instead of Roche), Phenytoin (now being manufactured by Siza), Carbamizole (now being manufactured by Pharmedic in place of Reckitt & Coleman), Haloperidol (now manufactured by Adamjee instead of Searle), Warfarin (now being prepared by Werrick in place of Camudin of Knoll), Niclosamide (being manufactured by Shaigan instead of Bayer), Glyceryl Trinitrate (now manufactured by Zafa instead of Glaxo/Wellcome), Digoxin (now prepared by Platinum instead of Glaxo/Wellcome) and Thyroxin (now manufactured by Dosaco in place of Glaxo/Wellcome)

"We wish to acknowledge and thank the ministry of health for these timely steps, which will ensure patient's prompt treatment, wellbeing and satisfaction," the university said in its letter addressed to Federal Health Minister Abdul Malik Kasi.

The efforts of the health ministry have also been acknowledged by the Aga Khan University.

Cotton prices down as ginners fail to hold stocks

Cotton prices on Thursday suffered a modest decline as some of the ginners were not inclined to hold long positions and lowered their asking prices.

However, spinners were active buyers both at the decline and the rise and lifted all the lots including some big quality lots between Rs2,600 on the lower side and Rs2,650 on the higher side.

Floor brokers said the market rise to seasonal peak level of Rs2,700 per maund appears to be temporary as ginners failed to muster a lot of spinner buying and the consequent fall at this level.

The spot lint price, during the last two sessions, declined by Rs50 per maund and could fall further depending on the size of phutti arrivals into the ginneries for the fortnight ended Nov 30, but it is too early to predict about the actual size of the crop, they said.

Although leading spinner groups continued to be active buyers at the prevailing prices and are lifting big lots too, the element of panic in the market is gradually fading out.

Govt to raise Rs1bn from 3 textile mills

The Privatization Commission has worked out a strategy to raise more than Rs1 billion from the sale of three government owned composite textile mills in Balochistan and Sindh.

Bulk of this amount, whenever it will be mobilized, will go towards the adjustment of the losses suffered by these three units and the accumulated liabilities.

All these three units fall within the category of those 49 public sector enterprises which the commission has placed on disinvestment bloc. These units will be offered to the investors within next six to nine months and transactions should be completed in next 12 to 18 months.

A comprehensive valuation of all the three textile mills, two in Balochistan and one in Sindh, has already been carried out. After applying a discount, ranging between 20 to 35 per cent, the commission has worked out what it calls a "distress or forced" sale value on which these units will be offered to investors.

FAO okays $392,000

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has approved an emergency financial assistance of $392,000 as grant-in-aid under the Technical Cooperation Programme to the drought affected areas in Balochistan.

Sugar mills

Facing non-availability of sugarcane, the Frontier Sugar Mills management on Thursday closed down the 1,200 ton per day capacity unit at the start of the crushing season.

The FSM Managing Director, Iskandar Khan, told that despite an offer of Rs45 per maund of sugarcane purchase, the growers declined to supply the current crop cane to the millers.

Growers representatives said that the growers had opted for selling their cane to the gur-makers, who are offering Rs47 per maund. One of the six sugar mills in NWFP, Saleem Sugar Mills, has already closed down due to these pressures.

Growers suspend cane supply

Sugarcane growers have ceased supplies of sugarcane to sugar mills, saying the millers have violated the agreement by paying Rs45 instead of Rs60 per maund.

The growers said the Millers have agreed to pay Rs 60 per maund prior to commencement of crushing season at a meeting held recently in Hyderabad under the officials of the government.

Meanwhile, the growers and abadgars held a meeting to review the situation viz-a-viz the denial of agreed price by the Millers and decided to continue suspension of sugarcane supplies to the Mills till the restoration of agreed prices to them.

UNFPA to give $35m

The government of Pakistan and the United Nations Fund for Population on Tuesday signed the launch of the Sixth Country Programme for a sum of US $35 million for a four-year period 2000-2003.