Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries is set to become the first insulin maker in the Middle East with its new $136m plant in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE.
The firm – otherwise known as Julphar – hopes the factory, which is capable of producing up to 50 million vials of the raw material for insulin per year, will fill a gap in the local market, where over 90 per cent of pharmaceuticals are imported.
With obesity related diabetes on the rise in the region – the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates almost a fifth of the population are affected by the disease – insulin is one of the most sought after medications.
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF), who has partnered with Julphar over the deal, also believes that the number diabetics in the UAE – 32.6 million – will soar by 80 per cent by 2030.
The plant will begin production within the next few weeks. The company says that producing the drug locally will help lower costs to patients.
Working with IDF
Through its partnership with IDF, Julphar CEO Ayman Sahli hopes to become a serious contender in the market.
He said the alliance will help the business diversify its business and becaome a “real investor in healthcare.”
“We will work very closely with the IDF in the coming months to begin various tailored regional campaigns in order to raise awareness of the epidemic as we look to take up the role of not only as producers of medicine, but also providers of care,” he said
Delphine Sartiaux, account manager for IDF, told in-PharmaTechnologist that the partnership extends the organisation’s reach in the Middle East. It is already working with Kuwait Finance House in the finance sector, and Landmark Group, who is a retail arm.
Growth in the Middle East
Julphar, who recently reported its highest ever sales figures of $272.2m (€212m) in 2011 – a revenue boost of 11.3 per cent – has set its sights on further growth in the Middle East this year.
And in the wake of recent turbulence for the country, the firm plans to cash in on the increase in demand for medication in Libya by expanding production capacity at its RAK plant by as much as 30 per cent this year.
Chief financial controller Krishna Gopa told Gulf News: “There has been turbulence in the Middle East but the pharmaceutical industry was not really affected significantly because it is immune from these crises. Sometimes it brings us opportunities.”
Furthermore after receiving some government tenders from the Iraq government, the firm also plans to enter the private market in the country. Gopa added: “More people are consuming drugs and we are enhancing our marketing there.”