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29 May 2015

Abu Dhabi-based Neopharma’s generic drug production deal with Pfizer

Neopharma, the Abu Dhabi-based drug manufacturer, has tied up with a Pfizer unit to manufacture selected products. In partnership with Wyeth, Neopharma will start with a couple of cardiovascular medicines related to hypertension and heart diseases, and will later move on to anti-inflammatory, pain management, women’s health and anti-infective drugs.

The medicines will be produced at Neopharma’s Mussafah factory, and will be available in the UAE next year. These will eventually be rolled out in the rest of the Gulf countries. Neopharma’s overseas markets include Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Kenya and Afghanistan.

The local company is owned by the NMC Health chief executive and managing director BR Shetty.

There are about 90 global pharma companies in the UAE, but only eight, including Julphar, Neopharma, Globalpharma, and Medpharma, are considered major domestic players.

In 2012, Neopharma signed a deal with Germany’s Merck Serono and India’s Hetero Group to locally manufacture drugs. The tie-ups are expected to bring down the cost of medicines. The healthcare market in the UAE and Gulf is dominated by expensive imported prescription drugs.

The government has periodically cut medicine prices, and those of another 192 were slashed by up to 60 per cent effective January 1. These included drugs to treat heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.

Among the challenges that international drug manufacturers face in the Middle East are price controls and difficulties in registering new drugs. Therefore they look for the local manufacturing partner to manufacture the generic range of the products. 

About Neopharma

Started in 2003, the first manufacturing facilities of Neopharma were planned on an investment outlay of US$25 million. Spread over an area of 100,000m2, the plant encompasses two independent production blocks – one dedicated for the manufacture of general products and the other, an exclusive centre for manufacturing betalactam products.

Installed Annual Capacity (in unit dosage forms)

Dosage form

General Products Plant

Betalactam Plant



118.0 million

24.0 million

142 million


64.0 million

46.0 million

110 million


4.6 million

5.5 million

10.1 million


7.5 million

7.5 million

Grand Total

194.1 million

75.5 million

269.6 million

As a branded generics manufacturer, Neopharma’s competitive advantage stems form the company’s ability to introduce new products in quick succession.

Neopharma product mix consists of key, distinct segments:

  1. Anti-infectives

  2. NSAIDs

  3. Respiratory Medicine

  4. Cardiovascular diabetology

  5. Nutritional supplements

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