6,176 generic medicines are accessible in UAE

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16 pharmaceutical factories and three other medical supply manufacturers operate in UAE.

Abu Dhabi: A total of 6,176 generic medicines are currently available in the UAE, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) announced on Monday.

In addition, a total of 16 factories are operating at present, along with three other factories working with intravenous fluids, laboratories and medical supplies. “Such numbers clearly reflect the flexible and attractive legislation and investment environment, and the availability of experiences, research capabilities, initiatives, and incentives that help establish competitive medical and pharmaceutical industries,” the MoHAP said in a statement.

Self-sufficiency

“The provision of generic drugs enables patients to receive appropriate and affordable treatment, owing to the lower costs of these medicines by 60 per cent compared to the originally branded medicines,” said Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary at the MoHAP’s Public Health Policy and Licenses division.

Al Amiri pointed to the MoHAP’s keenness to expand the UAE-manufactured generic drugs industry, and to pave the way for local plants to focus on manufacturing new and innovative medicines in various fields. The MoHAP is also keen on updating manufacturing policies to cope with international developments, in line with the attention paid by the UAE to drug safety as a strategic priority, especially in times of crisis and pandemics.

Al Amiri emphasised that the UAE’s health policies encourage the manufacturing of innovative medicines and pharmaceutical raw materials and vaccines in order to achieve self-sufficiency. This is achieved by stimulating the investment in this sector, expanding cooperation with global pharmaceutical companies, and enticing highly competent and skilled workforce and state-of-the-art equipment and technology.

Specific regulations

Earlier, the Health Ministry issued Ministerial Decree 321 of 2020, which regulates the use of data and information related to innovative pharmaceutical products registered inside the UAE. According to the decree, the data exclusivity period is set to eight years from the date of marketing approval inside the UAE. Generic companies can apply for marketing approval within the last two years from the end of the Data Exclusivity Period, provided they produce evidence on the absence of valid patent protection of the originator drug inside the UAE. Decree 321 leaves room for the MoHAP to grant exceptions to generic companies, despite the Data Exclusivity Period, for public health or other reasons which are decided on a case-by-case basis.