Merck & Co. strikes deal with PPI for production in Saudi Arabia

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In the last few years, a number of Western drugmakers have struck deals that will permit local manufacturing of their drugs in Saudi Arabia. U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co. will now join them.

Saudi Arabia’s Pharma Pharmaceutical Industries (PPI) has struck a deal with Kenilworth, NJ-based Merck, known as MSD outside of the U.S., to exclusively manufacture many of the MSD drugs that get approved in the country by the Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SDFA) for sale there and in other Gulf countries.

“MSD has been investing in the local manufacturing for more than 15 years,” Kevin Ali, MSD president for emerging markets, said in a statement. “The Kingdom’s recent steps to raise intellectual property rights and regulatory procedures to a high standard were major factors in our decision to move ahead with this investment,” he said.

Merck joins a number of Western drugmakers already establishing manufacturing in the country. AbbVie, the maker of Humira, a couple of years ago created a partnership with Arab Company for Pharmaceutical Products (Arabio) to manufacture Humira and other drugs in Saudi Arabia. Pfizer, Sanofi, Merck KGaA's Serono division, Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly and Bayer have either established or are working on production and distribution operations in the country.