(Jordan Times ) — Recent health ministry regulations to facilitate licensing agreements between local and international pharmaceutical firms is expected to give the industry an edge to compete in world markets.
Under the guidelines which went into effect over a month ago, local firms can seal contracts to produce specialized, innovative or generic drugs for each other. Likewise, domestic drug producers can sign contracts with international firms to manufacture specific drugs for local industries, or regional markets. But the firms have to fully meet the technical and legal requirements of drug production as envisaged by the health ministry.
“Such regulations will attract pharmaceutical investments to the Kingdom,” Maisa Saket, director of the drug directorate at the health ministry, told the Jordan Times on Thursday. “Foreign companies can manufacture drugs in Jordan, while local pharmaceuticals can produce drugs for each other.”
In line with global trends, the move will reduce production costs of pharmaceuticals and will enhance the competitive edge of locally-manufactured pharmaceutical products, Saket said. “Instead of having redundant production lines, pharmaceutical plants can specialize in production of one or a few formulations,” she stressed.
Pharmaceuticals are Jordan's second biggest source of export earnings, trailing phosphate and fertilizers. The Kingdom has 16 registered pharmaceutical manufacturers, seven plants that produce veterinary drugs and a single factory that produces infant food supplements.
The Kingdom has many small-scale pharmaceutical firms which produce similar medicines, all competing for the same limited domestic market.
Khaled Audat, general manager of Amman Drug and Trading Company, said pharmaceutical firms whose drugs are manufactured by the sub-contractor could still retain a certificate of origin. For example, Audat added that a drug-manufacturer can have capsules produced at one plant, while the packaging is done by the original manufacturer. “This will pave the way for future mergers,” he stressed.
The government has been urging pharmaceutical firms to merge following its nearly seven-month-old membership to the 136-member World Trade Organization.
By Suha Ma'ayeh
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )