UAE pharmaceutical signs AED 200M deal to export medicines to Canada
Priya Wadhwa
10x Industry

UAE pharmaceutical signs AED 200M deal to export medicines to Canada

LIFEPharma becomes the first UAE-based company to export generic drugs to the North American market.

LIFEPharma has signed a 10-year contract with Canada’s Apotex Inc, the country’s largest producer of generic drugs. The deal is worth AED 200 million, making it one of the largest pharma deals in the MENA region.

As part of the deed, the UAE-based subsidiary of VPS Healthcare will produce drugs to combat Motor Neurone Diseases, such as Lou Gehrig’s. The contract is signed for an annual production of 120 million tablets and medicines in LIFEPharma’s manufacturing unit in Jebel Ali. They will be exported to Canada to cater to the North American market.

“None of these therapeutics have ever been manufactured in the UAE or the GCC for export — or at these volumes — to North American markets before.”

This also makes LIFEPharma the first UAE-based company to export generic drugs to the North American market.

The medicines include:

  1. Deferosirox — iron chelating agent for blood disorders

  2. Rasagiline — Parkinson's disease medication

  3. Entacavir — antiviral (Hepatitis B)

  4. Linezolid — antibiotic

  5. Gabapentin — epilepsy

  6. Riluzole — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

  7. Abacavir — anti retroviral (HIV)

  8. Vardenafil — erectile dysfunction

  9. Abacavir — lamivudine-zidovudine, anti retroviral (HIV)

However, the same drugs that are part of the export contract will not be available in the UAE due to restrictions on licensing. As per the statement, “Apotex and LifePharma are also considering manufacturing additional products for export to the Middle East that will leverage LIFEPharma’s access in the UAE and GCC markets to introduce new and niche products.”

LIFEPharma revealed that they are the “UAE’s only USFDA-certified facility,” and can legally produce medicines and ship them to the USA, UK, Australia, Portugal as well as Taiwan – who are considered to be countries with “some of the toughest regulatory requirements.”

Currently LIFEPharma has a capacity of producing 1 billion tablets, 300 million capsules and 30 million liquids.

“This project represents an important milestone in the strategy to make the UAE a global hub for knowledge-based, sustainable and innovative industries.”
Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, Chairman and Managing Director of VPS Healthcare.

The UAE has been focusing on strengthening its healthcare industry. Recently the Department of Health Abu Dhabi and Silicon Valley’s Plug and Play accelerator signed a partnership to launch the region’s first health accelerator. Furthermore, today, Abu Dhabi is set to host the 12th edition of the World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress (WMTC) for the first time; the previous 11 annual meetings have been held in the United States of America. The three-day event will run from 15-17 October.

The pharmaceutical industry’s progress will fuel the UAE’s vision to strengthen its position to become a medical tourism hub in the region. The “innovation-led, value-based growth engine” will also support the growth of the UAE’s economy as it diversifies away from oil.