Diabetes Medication Plant Coming Up in Alborz

Currently, about 96% of the domestic demand for medicine is met by 62 local pharmaceutical companies.Currently, about 96% of the domestic demand for medicine is met by 62 local pharmaceutical companies.

The foundation stone for a modern anti-diabetic medication manufacturing plant was laid during a ceremony Monday at Barekat Pharmaceutical Industrial Park in Savojbolagh, Alborz Province.

The $78 million plant is being built by Denmark’s well-known Novo Nordisk Company and is expected to become operational within a year and a half, IRNA reported.

Novo Nordisk is a multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Bagsvaerd, Denmark, with production facilities in eight countries, and affiliates or offices in 75 countries. Its key products include diabetes care medications and devices. The firm is also involved in hemostasis management, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy.

“The investment will have mutual benefit and Iran will be able to provide drugs with European standards for diabetes patients,” said Hamidreza Jamshidi, director of Barekat Park.

According to Iran’s Endocrine Research Center, 15% of Tehranis suffer from diabetes and an additional 15% are in the pre-diabetes stage. In the last few decades, the rate of the disease has shot up 11.3%. There were over 4.6 million cases of diabetes in Iran in 2015.

Currently, one in three aged 20 and older has diabetes. The figure is one in two for those above the age of 60. The number of patients suffering from diabetes will increase to 9-10 million by the year 2025, reports say.

The pharmaceutical park in Alborz Province has been established by the Barekat Foundation across an area of 200 hectares to promote drug production capacities through interaction with knowledge-based organizations and world companies.

The foundation is dedicated, among other things, to building infrastructure for economic expansion. It is affiliated to the Setad, a special office for executing the decrees of Imam Khomeini in helping the underprivileged.

  Four Foreign Firms Building Plants

So far, 12 domestic and four foreign companies have started building  manufacturing plants at the park.

The foreign companies include Novo Nordisk as well as a French producer of surgery equipment, a British producer of (medical) supplements and German manufacturer of laboratory equipment.

“The park has been built based on international standards and has the infrastructure for starting factories by drug companies,” said Jamshidi.

According to the official, several companies have shown interest in establishing  plants in the park, but only 16 companies have so far managed to meet the foundation’s requirements.

There was a critical shortage of drugs, particularly life-saving medicines for hard-to-treat and rare diseases including cancer, close to the end of the previous administration’s tenure in 2013.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that almost all essential medicines are now available in the market. Around 2,200 medicines are produced in the country while 690 are imported.

About 96% of the domestic demand for medicine is met by 62 local pharmaceutical companies. Each year, $250 million is earmarked for production of medications, including import of raw materials and packaging.

Except for a few extremely rare drugs, which could be the case anywhere across the world, the domestic market is self-reliant.

Expenditure on imports that have equivalents in the domestic pharmaceutical sector has been reduced from $600 million in 2012 to $200 million in 2015.

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