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Domestic Pharmaceutical Companies Entering Saudi Arabia, then Middle East
Middle East Medicine
Domestic Pharmaceutical Companies Entering Saudi Arabia, then Middle East
  • By matthew
  • March 4, 2015, 06:16
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The Kingdom Centre towers over Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom Centre towers over Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


With President Park Geun-hye’s visit to 4 countries in the Middle East, cooperation for the health and medical fields between Korea and the Middle East has strengthened. Accordingly, domestic pharmaceutical companies are expected to pick up momentum to make inroads into the Middle East.

According to pharmaceutical industry sources, on Mar. 3 officials from domestic pharmaceutical companies, including JW Pharmaceutical and BCworld Pharm, which are preparing to enter the market in Saudi Arabia, visited Saudi Arabia and discussed cooperation on the “Korea-Saudi Arabia Specialized Medicine Complex Construction,” which is currently under way. The visit coincides with President Park’s tour schedule. These domestic pharmaceutical companies are planning to not only export products to the Middle East, but also establish a medicine production complex in the region and directly supply the products throughout the Middle East. 

In June last year, the Ministry of Health and Welfare signed an MOU for the project with Sudair Pharma Company, a state-owned pharmaceutical company in Saudi Arabia. Investing a total of US$200 million (219.56 billion won), they are building 4 plants that manufacture anti-cancer medicine, infusion solutions, biosimilars, and cardovascular medicine in Sudair, Saudi Arabia, within 5 years. JW Pharmaceutical, Ildong Pharmaceutical, and BCworld Pharm will participate in the project. 

According to the consulting firm Deloitte, the Saudi market, which is the largest pharmaceutical market in the Middle East, shows 4.7 percent growth every year, and it is expected to become a US$4.7 billion (5.16 trillion won) market by 2016. The imported drugs account for more than 80 percent of the entire pharmaceutical market in Saudi Arabia. So, the nation wants to enter into a technical partnership with Korean pharmaceutical companies in order to foster its own pharmaceutical industry. 

JW Pharmaceutical will construct an infusion solution plant in the medicine complex, export 19 key items, and transfer its technology. Ildong Pharmaceutical will establish an anti-cancer medicine plant and transfer technology, while BCworld Pharm will transfer the technologies of 17 medicines, including hypertension treatments, and export major medical raw materials.

Separately, Green Cross was selected as the first negotiator to build a vaccine plant from VPS Healthcare, which is a holding company providing health and medical treatment services in the UAE, in May last year. Currently, the company is engaged in negotiations worth 40 billion won (US$36.44 million).