Qatar getting 3 new domestic drug manufacturers, official says

The head of the drug control agency in Qatar says the country will have its second drug manufacturer open by the end of the year and two more in the first quarter of 2013 as its builds an industry that will cut drug import costs. Dr. Aisha al-Ansari, director of the Supreme Council of Health Pharmacy and Drug Control Department, told the Gulf Times, "It is our expectation that once these drug companies begin operations, our dependence on drug importation will come down and we will rely more on local production. We also hope to cover for shortages in supply as at times there could be a delay in supplying stocks from international manufacturers." Dr. al-Ansari said the country currently has 7 importers and 17 agents selling drugs in the country, which sits east of Saudi Arabia. Qatar Pharma, established by Ahmed bin Mohamed al-Haia al-Sulaiti, opened in February 2011, the newspaper reports. It makes about 200 branded products and plans to also make generic drugs. It imports most of its drug manufacturing equipment from Italy. Hikma, based in Jordan, is probably the best-known drugmaker from the Middle East, but a number of countries have been building their drug industries. Dr. al-Ansari told the publication that the new companies will import their APIs from approved sources. Her remarks followed a 5-day training session for the department's staff on GMPs. Story | More