Saudi Arabia aims to boost pharmaceutical industry


RIYADH: Minister of Health Tawfiq Al-Rabiah on Wednesday said Saudi Arabia will do its best to boost its pharmaceutical industry under the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020.
He was addressing local manufacturers of medicines and suppliers to medical laboratories at the headquarters of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC).
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, the Food and Drug Authority, and the National Committee for Pharmaceutical Industries at the CSC.
Al-Rabiah said that the fundamental plan is to produce pharmaceutical products to cater to the growing needs of the Kingdom. He explained that there are challenges in achieving such a goal, but said the ministry will lend its support to overcome any barriers.
There must be a unified body among drug manufacturers to work with the CSC and Ministry of Health to achieve the set goals, the minister stressed.
According to the Oxford Business Group, the NTP aims for an increase in the role of local pharmaceutical manufacturing in the domestic market, from 18 to 40 percent of the market.
There are 27 pharmaceutical manufacturers currently operating in the Kingdom. But imported branded pharmaceutical products in 2014 accounted for 80 percent of the domestic market.
The pharmaceutical market is projected to expand by 10 percent annually between 2015 and 2020, to reach SR51.2 billion ($13.6 billion), according to an April 2016 pharmaceuticals and health care report by BMI Research.
A July 2016 report by research and consulting firm GlobalData said the Saudi Ministry of Health plans to spend $18.5 billion on health care annually over the next 10 years, with a focus on improving the domestic manufacturing of medical devices and pharmaceuticals.
In April 2015 the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) approved a SR54.1m ($14.4m) loan for Dammam Pharma, a subsidiary of Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries and Medical Appliances, aimed at partially financing the construction of a pharmaceutical plant in the eastern province of Dammam.
In February 2016 AJA Pharmaceutical Industries, a subsidiary of Saudi Chemical Company founded in 2012 to manufacture drugs locally on behalf of foreign firms under license, signed a SR157.5m ($42m) loan deal with SIDF for partial-financing of the company’s new 120,000 square-meter manufacturing facility in Hail Industrial City.

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