The Business Year

Masood Jaffery

SAUDI ARABIA - Health & Education

Science First

Vice-President & General Manager, GSK Saudi Arabia


Masood Jaffery is a pharmacist by profession holding an MBA. He has over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, working in various capacities in different countries including Pakistan, the UK, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia. In the past seven years, he has worked with GSK’s Middle East & Africa team to provide access to medicines for patients belonging to the difficult-to-reach geographies of the region. Prior to this, he worked through two NGOs in Pakistan to provide healthcare facilities to poor communities. He is currently Vice-President & General Manager of GSK Saudi Arabia.

As one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, what does the foundation and legacy of GSK allow you to do in Saudi Arabia? GSK is a science-led global […]

As one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, what does the foundation and legacy of GSK allow you to do in Saudi Arabia?

GSK is a science-led global healthcare company that researches and develops a broad range of innovative products in three primary areas of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and consumer healthcare. We have a significant global presence with commercial operations in more than 150 countries, a network of 86 manufacturing sites in 36 countries, and large R&D centers in the UK, the US, Spain, Belgium, and China. GSK has had a presence in Saudi Arabia for more than 50 years. In 1992, GSK formed a joint venture with Banaja Holdings, GSK’s distributor and one of the Kingdom’s leading pharmaceutical distributors, establishing Glaxo Saudi Arabia Limited (GSAL). The facility came into operations in 1997, and manufactures a number of GSK products for local customers including antibiotics and vaccines. Over the last two years, we have added many of our products into local manufacturing. We are different to other pharmaceutical companies in the country, as we are the only one to have a joint venture pharmaceutical manufacturing company. Approximately 60% of our annual turnover originates from this joint venture. GSK has operations in Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, and Dammam, with nine premises in total including the headquarters in Jeddah, as well as the manufacturing site in the Jeddah suburbs. We employ just under 500 people locally. GSK is the largest pharmaceutical company in Saudi Arabia, supplying both the private and public sector with pharmaceutical products and vaccines. Saudi Arabia is an important market for GSK, both in terms of improving access to medicines for patients, and strategically for GSK in developing our business in the Gulf. The Saudi Arabian pharmaceuticals market is the largest among the GCC and the whole Middle East region.

What forms of scientific information exchange do you employ?

We have multiple methods of scientific exchange with healthcare professionals. The basic objective is to keep the local medical community updated on the latest developments in the field of medical sciences. We invite international experts to the Kingdom for symposia, seminars, and congresses to develop forums for discussions with the local medical community. We are also working with local medical societies to establish websites as part of continuous medical educational initiatives. We also have a team of medical advisors who engage with physicians to answer queries they may have in relation to GSK products. We are also employing other forums such as webinars and videoconferencing to keep Saudi healthcare professionals engaged with global experts.

Are there any changes that you expect down the road, and how do you plan to develop your business?

GSK has a significant presence and strong commitment to the people, healthcare providers, and the government of Saudi Arabia. Our aim has always been to bring our innovative medicines to the Kingdom soon after they become available in the West. The availability of any product in the country is dependent on the registration timelines set by Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA). In terms of our operating model, we would like to consolidate our local manufacturing operations through portfolio expansion. We are also working with our strategic partners Banaja Group and Arabio to bring vaccines manufacturing capability to the Kingdom.



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