MUSHTAQ NOORWALA, the
Chief Executive of Specific Research Laboratories, is a member of the
Pharmaceutical Industry and a well-known figure in the business circles
of the country. He did his PhD in Organic Chemistry from HEJ Research
Institute of Chemistry 1995-96 while he completed his early education
from Saint Patrick's, a well-known educational institution of Karachi.
Mushtaq Noorwala takes pride to be the batch mate of Prime Minister
Shaukat Aziz in his school days. After completion of his education he
joined his father's business and established his office in Dhaka in
1968. However, that business was lost with the debacle of the then East
Pakistan. Dr. Mushtaq is an active member of all prime representative
bodies of the business community including Karachi Chamber of Commerce
and SITE Association of Industry and held office of different committees
to serve the cause of the business community. He was elected as the
Chairman of Pakistan Pharmaceutical Importers Association, Chairman of
Pakistan Chemists and Druggists Association, Vice Chairman of FPCCI's
standing committee on Pharmaceutical Industry.
Since you are an active member of then pharmaceutical industry, however
would you describe the pharmaceutical scenario in Pakistan?
are over 370 pharmaceutical both multinational and local companies are
operating in Pakistan. Out of the total around 23 are foreign companies.
There were times when the multinational companies were dominating the
market as they retained over 80 per cent market share obviously because
of their international strength and huge financial resources. However,
the situation was gradually turned into favor of the domestic companies
and Pakistani companies now capture 80 percent of the market share. It
is almost a reverse situation in the pharmaceutical industry today.
having such a large industrial base in the pharmaceutical industry, the
price of the medicine has always remained on the higher side in our
country, would you like to justify?
MUSHTAQ: In a
way you are right to some extent, however, it is the right occasion to
dispel the distorted image about the pharmaceutical industry for
charging exorbitant price of certain medicines as people generally claim
that the similar products are being sold at much cheaper rate in
neighboring India. Actually, the matter of the fact is that
pharmaceutical industry has to rely mostly on imported raw material due
to almost non-existence of the raw material producing segment in our
country. While the situation in India is altogether different as major
requirement of raw material is sufficiently met within the country from
indigenous resources. This makes all the difference in terms of prices.
Furthermore, the volume of production also matters as a price effective
factor in every industry. If you compare the production volumes of the
two countries there is no match of the two.
from higher prices, the quality of products is another factor as there
is a general complaint regarding adulteration in medicine or piracy of
the formula or fake products, which is really a serious threat to the
human being. What protective measures you would suggest saving people
from serious repercussions of the adulteration.
have rightly pointed out these social ills, which is of course a serious
matter for which a draft bill-2004 for establishing "Special
Courts" for the trial of adulteration cases is before the
parliament for consideration. However, in my personal opinion if this
bill was enacted this might open doors for corruption instead of
resolving the problem. In fact, effective laws already exist to deal
with this malaise, what we are lacking is the effective implementation
and follow up to ensure enforcement of these laws. Laws cannot produce
the desired results unless the mechanism for implementation of the laws
is made effective; hence there is a need to streamline implementation
process of the existing laws.
a schoolmate of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz how would you describe his
personality as a schoolboy?
MUSHTAQ: It is
not because he has become the Prime Minister of the country, but it is a
matter of fact that he was one of the most disciplined students of the
school. He was never penalized for late joining prayers in the morning
assembly of the school ground. Occasionally, I used to visit his modest
house in Garden area of Karachi. His father used to work in Radio
Pakistan those days. Whenever I visited his house, his mother used to
offer me "Sooji Halwa" that was a treat for me those days, I
can remember. His parents were practicing Sunni Muslim. Allegations by
some quarters regarding being Qadiani is a mere distortion of the facts
by some vested interests.