BY PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today, 27 Sep 2009
The Federal Ministry of Health (MoH) has endorsed Abu Dhabi-based pharmaceuticals manufacturer Neopharma to produce a generic version of Tamiflu for treating H1N1 infection cases in the UAE.
The pharmaceutical company has received on Saturday the MoH clearance to start production of the antiviral medication Oseltamivir BR Flu.
The sanction has been granted during a meeting of the Higher Committee for Registration and Pricing of Medicines, chaired by MoH advisor Dr Abdul Rahim Ja'afar.
According to him, the UAE becomes one of the first countries to have acquired patent rights from the mother companies producing Tamiflu, with the permission to produce the drug against swine flu.
Dr Amin Hussein Al-Amiri, MoH Executive Director for Medical Practices and License Affairs, said, "The higher committee gave the approval to Neopharma following a close study and scrutiny of the company's proposal and the committee's findings which have proven beyond reasonable doubts that the product is safe and meets international standards."
Dr BR Shetty, Managing Director and CEO of Neopharma, said, "The Oseltamivir BR Flu is the outcome of a joint venture with leading pharmaceuticals major Hetero Drugs and is the first in a series of major life-saving drugs being planned to produce over the next few years in the region."
According to him, the approval for Oseltamivir will significantly facilitate medical professionals and the wider community to effectively tackle the lethal H1N1 virus in the region.
"The endorsement for manufacturing the antiviral drug comes at a time when the entire region is gripped by fears over the H1N1 pandemic. The drug is a potential choice to prevent and treat H1N1 flu in the region," he added.
Prashanth Mangath, Chief Financial Controller of Neopharma told The Gulf Today over phone that the company has the capacity to produce two million capsules every month. We will distribute the drug across the Middle East, with the capacity to manufacture around 60 million BR Flu capsules."
"We produce 75 mg capsules in the first phase, while 30 mg and 45 mg capsules as well as 12 mg per ml paediatric preparation powder will be manufactured in the second phase."
"The first batch of the drug is ready, and we will dispatch half a million capsules to Oman within 10 days," he added.
According to him, Neopharma produces the drug with the support of Hetero Drugs, India's Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical manufacturer that meets about 70 per cent of the Indian government's requirements.