The Middle East is a thriving market that offer drugmakers better-than-average returns. Saudi Arabia is one of the largest pharmaceutical markets in the Middle East and the largest in the GCC. It has grown by 7.4 percent annually since 2008 and is forecast to grow from $4.5bn in 2015 to $6bn by 2020, according to a report by GlobalData :
Furthermore, according to reports from Euromonitor in Saudi Arabia there has been a surge in chronic diseases such as obesity, increasing the need for long-term medical care, as well as a raise of residents aged over 65.
Due to these new necessities the Saudi government has planned a major expansion of the healthcare sector giving to the Ministry of Health (MoH) an annual budget of $18.5bn over the next ten years, according to GlobalData, mainly to boost domestic manufacturing of medicines and medical devices.
Pfizer has forseen the opprtunity and started to plan a manufacturing plant since 2011 which has now been officially opened in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and will be used to supply the local market.
Pfizer has also made a deal in 2014 with Tabuk Pharmaceuticals that gave the Saudi-based company exclusive rights to manufacture and sell in the kingdom “second brand” versions of four Pfizer drugs.
The opening of this manufacturing facility is part of Pfizer’s support for the Saudi government’s Vision 2030 National Transformation Program.
Hussein El Hakim, country manager, Pfizer Saudi, said: “This facility is set to provide Saudi patients with locally manufactured medicines that can help transform their lives. In addition, the facility allows us to develop local manufacturing expertise and capabilities to help meet our shared commitment with the government to provide a continued reliable supply of innovative and essential medicines for patients in Saudi Arabia.”
Thanks to the incentives to attract pharma manufacturing and a host of foreign companies, also other “big pharma” comoanies such as AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim and Cipla, have projects underway Saudi Arabia.
Source: Bloomberg, Arabian Business, Thomson Reuters/Zaya