A Track Record of Growth

Basem Al Barahmeh, General Manager, Globalpharma
Basem Al Barahmeh, General Manager, Globalpharma

Basem Al Barahmeh General Manager Globalpharma, talks about how the UAE has become a regional hub for the pharmaceutical industry over the past decade and created an environment conducive to sustainable growth



Published: Thu 6 Oct 2022, 10:53 AM

Last updated: Thu 6 Oct 2022, 10:55 AM

Take us through the origin of Globalpharma and its journey from the start to the present in the MENA region.

Globalpharma is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dubai Investments. Established in 1998, Globalpharma is currently a market leader in key generic pharma segments with a strong regional footprint. The company started its operations in the UAE in 2003 and expanded its growth in 2008 with product line extensions and new product launches across 14 countries in the GCC and select African markets.

Dr. Mariam Galadari, Board Advisor, Globalpharma
Dr. Mariam Galadari, Board Advisor, Globalpharma

Currently, Globalpharma has three manufacturing plants — a state-of-the-art Beta-Lactam Penicillin manufacturing plant providing the Amoxicillin and AmoxiClav brands in the larger MENA region, a general medicine manufacturing plant catering to the lifestyle disease segments with a variety of liquid and oral solid dose capabilities and recently, the company launched the first herbal medicine manufacturing site in the Middle East.

Glomox (amoxicillin) was the first brand that Globalpharma introduced, followed by Emidol (paracetamol) in 2003, our flagship brand Gloclav (amoxicillin clavulanate) was launched in 2005, and the beginning of our export business. Globalpharma launched the cardiovascular portfolio in 2008, followed by the introduction of our mega brand Atorlip (Atorvastatin) in 2011. The improvement process continued through last year with the herbal medicine manufacturing site in the Middle East and the introduction of our brand MG21.

The company’s manufacturing facilities are cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice) certified, and have been approved by all health authorities in the Middle East (GCC, UAE, Saudi FDA), Levant, Africa and the CIS regions.

Globalpharma manufactures and distributes generic pharmaceutical products in almost all lifestyle disease segments, including cardiovasculars, anti-ulcerants, anti-diabetics, anti-arthritis, analgesics including NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), respiratory, anti-histamine formulations, anti-infectives and mulitvitamin supplements. The company constantly focusses on continuously expanding its portfolio of covered therapeutic areas, launching new products to meet the ‘un-met needs’ of the patient.

During 2022, Globalpharma achieved a great leap in key markets, where in the UAE, our sales showed 67 per cent growth over the previous year and 23 per cent growth in the Saudi Arabia market. Expanding its presence in the Saudi Arabian market, Globalpharma granted access to WASFATY — electronic systems to facilitate medication dispensing — in the Saudi market, allowing higher number of patients to gain access to high quality medicine with affordable prices.

What is the state of the pharmaceutical industry in the region and how do you foresee it evolving in the coming years?

The Middle Eastern countries, especially those in the GCC, are taking active measures to help the development of the pharmaceutical sector. According to some industry reports, the pharmaceutical market in the Middle East has witnessed continued growth over the last several years and is projected to grow exponentially in the coming years. The UAE’s pharmaceutical market is expected to grow by 27 per cent between 2021 and 2025, as the country pushes to become a regional pharmaceutical centre with the size of the local pharmaceutical market expected to hit $4.7 billion in value by 2025, up three times from 2011.

Favourable economic factors, strong government support for healthcare, the roll-out of mandatory health insurance schemes and with the ambition for excellent healthcare services, the Middle East has huge potential within the pharmaceutical industry. The local and regional companies across the region are quickly gaining pace and the industry is growing because of continued improvement in the health sector, investments by government and implementation of visionary plans. The increasing pressure on governments to cut healthcare budgets could be beneficial for the growth of branded generics manufacturing and this could result in implementation of compulsory healthcare insurance policies to reduce the burden on governments and pass costs onto private hands.

The UAE has made impressive inroads to redefine the regional pharmaceutical industry. With a track record of substantial infrastructure investments, unprecedented legal reforms and robust regulations, the UAE has become a regional hub for the pharmaceutical industry over the past decade and created an environment conducive to sustainable growth. Saudi Arabia is also another strategic market in the region with the pharmaceutical industry being one of the key components of their vision 2030. The Kingdom believes that the pharmaceutical sector is worth developing due to high local demand as well as their proximity to countries in MENA, where free trade agreements are in place. Overall, the global pharmaceutical industry is also increasingly realising the value of a more agile and resilient supply chain model, which facilitates rapid response to changing market forces.

Overall, the generic medicine industry boosts competitiveness as generic pharmaceuticals can enhance competition in the drug market by offering more choice and by lowering drug prices to the benefit of health customers. Pharmaceutical industry is encouraged to stay innovative to sustain the momentum and obtain intellectual property rights on their originator drugs.

What role has the company played in supporting the fight against the global pandemic?

As a responsible pharmaceutical company, Globalpharma took all efforts to support the government and the community with the best means of treatment and support. The company collaborated all resources and partnered with specialised manufacturers to ensure a seamless production chain and provide timely medical support. Globalpharma worked closely with MOHAP and the different authorities in the UAE to secure the supply of essential medicines and to overcome the impact of global supply constraints. In line with the requirement to support sanitizers during the pandemic, Globalpharma launched the GP+ sanitizer, approved by the Dubai Municipality and manufactured in accordance with the guidelines as outlined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The formulation offered a quick and persistent action and helped protect against many enveloped and non-enveloped viruses and microorganisms. The surgical disposable facemasks was another product provided by Globalpharma, which was made with high quality melt-blown filter, offering highest filtration rate; and produced under UV sterilisation at the Globalpharma premises that applied the GMP.

Globalpharma continues to manufacture and commercialise pharmaceutical products under CGMP (current good manufacturing practice) conditions including antibiotics, cardiovascular, anti-ulcerants, analgesic, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines), food supplements, vitamins, anti-diabetics, respiratory products and anti-histamine formulations.

As an organisation that supports Emiratization, can you throw some light on the role of Emirati women within Globalpharma?

Globalpharma is proud to have Dr. Mariam Galadari, the first Emirati women pharmacist, who established the Regulatory Department in MOHAP, as the Board Advisor for Globalpharma.

Dr. Mariam is setting a great example for Emirati women, inspiring them to pursue their passion and through her dedicated efforts, proved that Emirati women can play an important role in contributing and driving the UAE’s vision.

Dr. Mariam has contributed to the preparation of the Pharmacy Law and participated with the team in local tenders and contributed to several committees, such as the evaluation of certificates and practice, the media committee and the inventory committees. During her career, Dr. Mariam received many awards of appreciation. She was honoured in 2016 by the Arab Pharmacists Union in Cairo, becoming the first Arab woman to receive this honour, in appreciation of her role locally and regionally in developing the pharmaceutical sector. She is a strong advocate for locally manufactured medicines and strongly believes in the strength and performance of the medicines and reiterates its effectiveness just as foreign medicines, with the raw materials used and imported remaining from the same source.

Tell us about the line of products that are manufactured at Globalpharma.

Globalpharma has a state-of-the-art manufacturing site, divided into 3 standalone sites, one for penicillin’s, second for general medicine, and third is the newly launched and the first herbal manufacturing site in Middle East.

The company’s flagship brands include Gloclav® (Amoxiclav) tablets and oral suspensions, Glomox® (Amoxicilin) capsule, tablets and oral suspensions, Emifenac® DT (Diclofenac dispersible Tab), Emidol® tablets and Glovit® softgels in the multivitamin range, and all of these are well respected brands across the Middle East and North African markets and trusted by healthcare professionals for their quality and proven efficacy.

Please elaborate on the company’s goal of meeting the ‘un-met needs’ of the patient.

Globalpharma aims to allow patients access to quality products at affordable prices. The company provides innovative solutions to improve patient experience and as part of this commitment, Globalpharma has developed ‘Advanced Pack’, the first of its kind in the Middle East, offering patients unique benefits for its comprehensive approach to disease management. The 2D data matrix coding in this ensures comprehensive information on product code, batch number, manufacturing and expiry date to combat medicine counterfeit. This feature also provides QR code access to increase awareness along with a medicine intake chart and a braille calligraphy option to support patients with impaired sight.

Likewise, Globalpharma is committed to supporting healthcare professionals in the UAE and the region by strengthening their knowledge and skills as part of its long-term focus on promoting Continuous Medical Education (CME) in the region. Globalpharma is also among the few pharma manufacturers having B-Lactam (penicillin) production site.

How beneficial do you think the Make it in the Emirates Forum is for new companies? What do you think is the impact of Forum on promoting and encouraging companies to set up business in the UAE?

With the introduction of the Make it in the Emirates national campaign, which is a call to action that supports ‘Operation 300bn’, a national industrial growth strategy, inclusive of the pharmaceutical industry, new markets have been opened for local medicines. This has led to enhancement of the healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry, attracting local and foreign investments within the sector. It has also facilitated the presence of a larger consumer market, opening new markets in the country and being given preferential advantages in foreign markets.

As part of the campaign, the government is also placing a lot of emphasis and priority on R&D as part of efforts to promote the adoption of advanced technologies and innovation. This will also help and support the development and the enhancement of the pharmaceutical sector.

Tell us something about the future expansion plans of Globalpharma.

Globalpharma currently is actively engaged in a couple of projects, including cooperation with multinational companies, to localise manufacturing of their brands in the UAE. The company is also partnering with regional plyers to expand geographically. Our business development teams are also working on projects which will strengthen Globalpharma’s position as a leader through the introduction of unique innovative pharmaceutical forms.

Recently, Globalpharma joined the industrial partnership launched between the four countries (UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain) and is working with companies from these countries on potential partnership projects aimed at developing new medicines and adopting to new technologies and production lines.

Comments from Distributors

Metromed

Metromed’s cooperation with Globalpharma was a turning point in our effort to establish ourselves as one of the top retailers of healthcare services in the UAE. It is terrific to contribute to the accomplishment of such a worthwhile goal as giving patients access to high-quality medication at an affordable price. We began working with Globalphama in 2020 as the sole distributor for the company’s acute portfolio, which includes a variety of flagship brands such as Gloclav™, the top antibiotic from the Amoxicillin Calvulant group and Emifenac DT™. Recently, Metromed was ranked among the top 10 pharmaceutical distributors in the UAE thanks to the fruitful partnership with Globalpharma.

Marwan Mubarak, Managing Director, Mazrui International Trading Sector (parent company of Metromed)

Alphamed:

Being one of the leading companies in the healthcare sector, we were excited on the alliance with Globalpharma, and being chosen as a distributor for chronic portfolio, including key brands as Atorlip™, Sartan™ ,& EzeAir™, which was in addition to participating in the launch of three brands: Emilok™, Emiros™ and Gloxib™. Alphamed was selected by Globalpharma to launch MG21, the first herbal product inspired by the UAE heritage and proven to be one of the best product launches in the UAE pharmaceutical market. We’re proud of that.

Dr. Doaa Albarbari CEO, Healthcare and Bin Sina Pharmacies, AKI Group (parent company of Alphamed)


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