New plant to be online in UAE by end of 2016

By year-end, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can expect to have a new manufacturing plant producing drugs for the country as a Saudi drugmaker completes the first phase of a project there.

Saudi Arabia's Julphar is currently having equipment installed while recruiting employees for the 10,000 square meter, $81 million (Dh300 million), Sheikh Faisal bin Saqr Al Qasimi, chairman of Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar) announced Saturday, according to Emirates 24/7.

When fully operational, phase one of the site will have an annual output of 1 billion tablets, 500 million capsules and 30 million bottles of syrups and suspensions, Al Qasimi said. A second phase to produce biologics is planned.

The new Julphar facility in the UAE will be coming online after the country last year decided to cut the prices on drugs as falling oil prices have pinched the country's budget. The UAE's Ministry of Health cut prices on 280 products. The country has made several rounds of cuts since 2010.

According to Emirates 24/7, the Julphar project represents the first Emirati-Saudi investment partnership in the pharmaceutical industry. But there has been a growing number of pharma projects in the region. In 2014, UAE-based Neopharma pledged to build a drug manufacturing facility in Jazan City in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia-based Tabuk has partnerships with Pfizer ($PFE) and Boehringer Ingelheim.

- read the Emirates 24/7 story

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