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Oman to establish new firms to boost pharma sector

20 Mar 2021 By MOHAMMED TAHA

With an aim to support the pharmaceutical sector and increase the national income, the sultanate is seeking to establish five new pharmaceutical firms that would help the country to increase its market share in the coming days. 

The establishment of the new firms envisages an increase in the market share of medicines and medical equipment produced locally by up to 50 per cent by 2050 from the current eight per cent. 

In an interview with Oman TV, Dr Mohammed bin Hamdan al Rubaie, director general of Pharmacy and Drug Control at the Ministry of Health, said, “The sultanate currently has five factories for the production of medicines and medical equipment and is seeking to establish five more.” 

The sultanate produces eight per cent of the total market supply of medicines and medical equipment currently, while the percentage of consumption increases by ten per cent annually, he added.  

“The strategic plan aims to raise local production to meet 20 per cent of the demands by the end of 2025 and up to 50 per cent of the demands by 2050.” 

“The ministry strives to ensure that the procedures and laws regarding pharmaceutical manufacturing and obtaining licences are clear and specific. The sultanate aims to invest in scientific research in the medical field. Nizwa University and Dhofar University are carrying out research in medical fields,” added Dr Rubaie. 

Dr Waleed bin Khalid al Zadjali, chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Pharmaceutical Industries Company, said, “There are obstacles to achieving drug security in the sultanate, including the absence of an integrated system between institutions, the lack of scientific research and the future outlook for qualifying national cadres in this aspect.” 

Dr Zadjali explained, “We need facilities for setting up pharmaceutical factories and make arrangements for planning and follow-ups supervised by a specific body including the concerned authorities.” 

Hilal bin Hamad al Sarimi, chairman of the Health and Environmental Committee of the Majlis A’Shura, pointed out that the medicinal security was a ‘national issue’ that everyone should work on. “We annually import medicine and medical equipment to the tune of US$450mn. In the Gulf, more than US$3bn are spent on importing these materials, which means that there is a market and a profitable return for this industry.” 

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