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Mad Dash to the Middle East: Big Pharma Expands in Persian Gulf

3 MAR 2014

This week, the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences blog looks at Big Pharma’s expansion into the Middle East. Emerging markets have long been of interest to industry giants – in particular the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China. But now that activity is slowing in those regions, drug companies are looking for the next big opportunity.  And for those willing to brave political instability and tough regulatory oversight, the Persian Gulf could offer fertile ground for new investment and big profit. The blog post, Mad Dash to the Middle East: Big Pharma Expands in Persian Gulf, confirms that

For industry superstars, emerging markets have proven fertile ground for clinical research, manufacturing, drug discovery, and numerous other outsourced operations.  But as activity begins to slow in the BRIC, Pharma is already looking elsewhere for new profit and growth potential. According to the Wall Street Journal, there are several major developments slated to unveil next year in the Middle East. Amongst other treatable conditions, diabetes is of growing concern throughout the region – and has prompted companies like Merck and Pfizer to launch new divisions and forge new alliances across the Persian Gulf.

For its part, Merck and its investment partners have invested $93 million in a brand new factory, set to open in 2015. At peak production, the factory is expected to produce insulin in the amount of 45 million units, made to measure up to FDA quality assurance standards. Pfizer is also planning to open its first production plant located in Rabigh in Saudi Arabia. The plant will manufacture a range of Pfizer drugs, at a rate of 18 million packets per year. Opening up further possibilities for the region, the U.A.E. has lifted import restrictions on active compounds required for the engineering of generics. The new regulation will facilitate domestic drug development and local industry expansion.