Abu Dhabi will be the first to locally produce and distribute a Tamiflu-like medicine to fight swine flu, which has spread through the entire Middle East.
Emirates Business has learnt that the UAE Ministry of Health (MoH) has given its approval to Abu Dhabi-based Neopharma for the production and distribution of the drug, which is used in the treatment of H1N1 cases. The distribution will be both in the local market and for export within the region.
Dr BR Shetty, Managing Director and CEO of NMC Group and Neopharma, yesterday confirmed that they have won the government approval to manufacture the drug in their Musaffah-based plant for local and regional distribution.
The approval came in an announcement yesterday following a final meeting of the Higher Committee for Registration and Pricing of Medicines, chaired by Dr Abdul Rahim Ja’afar, an Advisor at the MoH.
Without mentioning the name of the UAE pharmaceutical company, Dr Amin Hussein Al Amiri, MoH’s Executive Director for Medical Practices and Licence Affairs, who attended the meeting, said: “The committee gave the approval to the company following close study and scrutiny of the company’s proposal and the committee’s findings that have proven beyond reasonable doubt that the product is safe and meets international standards.”
The UAE is one of the first countries to have acquired patent rights from the mother companies producing Tamiflu.
Dr Shetty, however, refused to disclose any further details due to commitments with international partners that are involved in the manufacture of the drug.
“All details will be made public very soon along with our partners involved. What I can say right now is that we will be producing the drug. It comes from our commitment to public health safety and prosperity of this country,” said Dr Shetty.
According to sources close to the project, Neopharma has the capacity of producing 20 million capsules for six months with their current capability. Sources also revealed that expressions of interests, along with some orders, for the drug have already started coming in from the entire GCC and some other Middle East countries.