Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies , has entered into a tripartite agreement for local production in Saudi Arabia with Cigalah and Tabouk.The move came from Boehringer Ingelheim’s  interest in expanding in Saudi Arabia with innovative medicines, a statement said.Tabuk, a leading pharmaceutical manufacturing company which wants to strengthen its products and services offering to Saudi patients ; Cigala, a major healthcare distribution player; and Boehringer Ingelheim have decided to combine scientific know-how, technical expertise, and local infrastructure to serve the Saudi patients, it said.With this contract, Cigalah and Tabuk will manage and drive complex secondary packaging projects of 26 products for Boehringer Ingelheim from the starting point until full implementation to become finished goods. This is the first milestone towards Boehringer Ingelheim’s future local primary manufacturing in the kingdom, it said.Agreement includes products spanning across respiratory, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, anti-inflammatory, anti-parkinson and anti-platelet aggregation medications. With Boehringer Ingelheim’s investment, interest to expand in Saudi Arabia and partnering with local manufacturing units, the company will be able to offer more innovative medicines for Saudi patients, helping them to improve health and quality of life, the statement said."The company has established its full end-to-end capabilities in Saudi Arabia and will continue to increase its own local investments in the pharmacutical space as well as local talent in order to drive socio-economic development; creating value for individuals and society as a whole," it said.The contract between the companies was signed by Dr Abdul Aziz Al Serafi, CEO consultant of Cigalah Group; Dr Hamad Al Khamees, general manager Saudi Arabia Tabuk; and Mohammed Al Tawil, general manager, Boehringer Ingelheim Middle East and Near East Area. The local pharmaceutical production in Saudi Arabia satisfies only 15 per cent of the demand and imports account for 85 per cent of the domestic market. The locally-grown companies primarily make generic drugs, while some also undertake under-license manufacturing and packaging on behalf of multinational pharmaceutical companies for supply in the domestic and regional markets. The agreement will help to establish new capabilities and capacities  and a more effective supply chain to support Boehringer Ingelheim’s ambitious business plan and expansion in Saudi Arabia. As the healthcare expenditure is forecasted to grow from 3.5pc in 2010 to 6pc of GDP by 2021, this partnership marks a significant step towards meeting the demand for quality medicines in the region while strengthening the infrastructure to locally provide therapies at par with the international standards, the statement said. Mohammed Al Tawil said: “We are delighted to enter into an agreement with Cigalah Group and Tabuk. As a leading global pharmaceutical company, we are committed to lead development and optimization of product specifications, testing protocols, qualification and validation of packaging thus ensuring product quality and safety. With this agreement we aim to reinforce our goal to make quality products and access to medication in the Kingdom.” The tripartite agreement enables Boehringer Ingelheim to contract Cigalah for the secondary packaging and authorizes Cigalah to implement and conduct the packaging production at Tabuk facilities, it said.