LOCAL SUCCESS

Ras Al Khaimah 2017 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Aly Mousa, Vice President of Julphar, on the features of the local pharma market, its success with diabetes, and his plans for the company.

Aly Mousa
BIOGRAPHY
Aly Mousa joined Julphar in December 2009. In 2014, he was appointed Vice President, Sales & Marketing, and took the lead of the global sales and marketing operations for the company. Since he started his career, Mousa has accumulated a wide and extensive work experience in the pharmaceutical industry in the Middle East and North Africa region, having been working in the industry for the past 30 years. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical science from Alexandria University in Egypt.

What is the pharmaceutical market in the UAE like today?

The UAE pharmaceutical market is the most attractive market in the region, though it relies on multinational companies to supply innovative and essential medicines. Domestic products will expand over the long term because of fast approvals, high affordability, and growth of medical tourism. In the short term, scrutiny on drug prices will be higher for multinational companies; the UAE government will cut back spending on higher value, innovative drugs, which will be offset by an increasingly private market. Total pharmaceutical expenditure in 2015 is USD2.8 billion, growing by 9% compared to 2014. Julphar is a UAE-based pharmaceutical company and is one of the biggest manufacturers and distribution companies in the region and will continue to play a crucial role in supplying medicines to the local market. Julphar exports 90% of its products to 40 countries worldwide while 10% of its production is consumed within the UAE. The UAE imports about 85-90% of its medication while 10% is produced domestically, most of it by Julphar. Most local companies focus on producing generic products, rather than high-value, hard-to-manufacture products that Julphar pioneers. Domestic companies are not in the field of manufacturing biotech or bio-similar products because they are difficult to manufacture and not attractive to patients; they prefer branded products. Reduction in oil prices will lead to cuts in the budget of the Ministry of Health, which will encourage local manufacturers to produce more products at affordable prices.

Julphar has developed a large diabetes drug manufacturing plant. What products and successes have come out of the plant?

Management made a wise decision when it made the move into this field; strategically, it is important to locally manufacture products that treat diabetes. Multinational companies stop supplying medication to countries in certain circumstances, which is where local manufacturers have to come in and plug the deficit. Julphar produces oral anti-diabetic products as well as insulin crystal, a major drug component in diabetes management. We established a state-of-the-art plant to manufacture the raw materials for insulin. It is a sophisticated manufacturing plant, and Julphar invested more than USD160 million in this facility, which can produce 1,500kg of insulin crystal a year. We are now preparing the registration dossier, which will cost another USD5 million. In order to continue to have a strong presence in the market, we undertook a number of initiatives to build on what was done in previous years. We have expanded our business to a new sophisticated area of medical devices with the launch of Dexcom G4 Platinum, the most accurate glucose monitoring technology. With this revolutionary, real-time continuous glucose-monitoring device (CGM), diabetic patients can easily and conveniently monitor their glucose level around the clock for better management of their diabetes.

What is the direction for Julphar in the coming year?

It is important to maintain our double-digit growth for both revenue and profit values. We will also work on another initiative to strengthen our portfolio by adding new products, increasing the number of licensed products from multinational companies, and opening new countries; it is crucial for Julphar to be the first in the market and gain the highest market share. The third initiative is to establish biotech and bio-similar products, such as insulin, erythropoietin, and epotin. There is a plan to add more biotech products to our portfolio. We want to increase our presence in Africa, which remains underserviced by many companies, in spite of the huge population and wealth in some countries. The presence of our manufacturing plant in Ethiopia will facilitate our presence in Africa. We have another joint venture project in South Africa with a local partner to create new business model that will increase Julphar's business there. We are proud that Julphar distributed more than 400 million packs all over the world carrying “Made in UAE."