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Rupee depreciation hits Pakistan medicine export to Afghanistan

Traders in Peshawar said their business down by 80pc
by Editor - 17 Feb, 2023 1551
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Shaheen Afridi

Pakistani medicines export to Afghanistan have taken a hit due to depreciation of rupee and uncertain trade policies of Kabul and Islamabad.

Pakistan is regarded as the top medicine exporters to Afghanistan.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar is the largest medicine market and also hub of exporting medicines and raw material to Afghanistan. However, traders told TNN that rapid depreciation of dollars over past four months has badly hit their business and forced many to stop exports to Afghanistan.

Adeel Sarfarz, who runs a medicine business in Namak Mandi told TNN that Taliban ascendency in Kabul and rapid fall of rupee has slashed his business by 80pc. Besides, he said that increase in the prices of life saving drugs was also causing worries for public.

He said at one hand the prices were affecting their business while on the other hand Taliban takeover in Kabul has also affected their business. “Taliban have not implemented any policy for the medicine manufacturing; rather, imposed a ban on it which has reduced our business by nearly 80pc,” he said.

Muhammad Sadaqat, who also runs a medicine business in Peshawar for past 15 years, said that life-saving medicine prices have gone up three-folds. “Prices of medicines used to control diabetes, blood pressure and cardiovascular problems are still going up,” he said.

He said that medicines used by patients regularly have gone up by 200pc.

Wali Khan, who was purchasing medicine from a Peshawar pharmacy told TNN that he found himself unable to all the medicines prescribed by the doctor.

“I earn Rs 600 per day and some days is forced to borrow to purchase medicine,” he said.

Pakistan’s pharmaceutical industry

More than 80pc of Pakistani pharmaceutical companies import raw medicines; however, the depreciation of rupee has pushed up the prices.

It is estimated that Pakistan imported US$ 90 million medicines to Afghanistan. However, this number has taken a hit recently.

Attaullah Shah said that consumers and traders have to face the consequences of medicines prices and additional taxes. He said that life-saving prices were going up every week. Price of medicine jumps from Rs 800 to Rs 950 and Rs 1000 in just a couple of days, Shah said.

On the other hand, State Bank of Pakistan and official’s statements carried in media state that they will facilitate the traders. Besides, they said that they will also find avenues to imports stuck at the port due to letter of credit issue. However, the letter of credit issue is still unresolved.

At the same policy issues on parts of Pakistan have allowed Indian, Iranian and Turkish medicine companies to capture Afghan market.

Medicines traders in KP said that now Turkish, Indian and Irani medicines were easily available in Afghanistan as compared to Pakistan. Besides, they said that many of Afghan patients used to head to Pakistan for medicines due to their low prices.