Medicines boosting immunity will now be produced in Bahrain as the country’s first ever drug factory has initiated trial production.
The BD5 million project by Bahrain Pharma will produce the first batch of 600 million gelatin coated multivitamin capsules and 20 million soluble syrup bottles in two months.
The pioneering venture, licensed for operations by the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA), aims to employ a high number of Bahrainis qualified in the pharmacy field, with a plan to hire 40 to 80 per cent of its employees in the first phase.
This was announced yesterday at an online Press conference by NHRA chief executive Dr Maryam Al Jalahma alongside Bahrain Pharma chief executive Dr Riad Mohammed Al Ashban and NHRA’s pharmaceutical regulations head Dr Roya Al Abasi.
“We are happy to announce the licensing of the first drug manufacturer in Bahrain by Bahrain Pharma,” said Dr Al Jalahma.
“The factory will employ Bahraini pharmacy graduates from the College of Health Sciences, a good number of them, 40 to 80pc, which they aim to employ in the first phase.
“Initial production will be 600m multivitamin gelatin capsules and 20m soluble syrup bottles.”
The factory located on a 10,000sqm area in Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP) Hidd has facilities dedicated for production, storage, support and external and internal control.
The trial production will be underway with the first batch of the medicines to be released after two months.
According to Dr Al Ashban, the factory has come into operation at a “much needed” time, referring to the Covid-19 pandemic and citing international calls for drugs to help humans fight bacterial and viral infection.
“Our priority is protecting people from infection, be it from virus or bacteria, which comes at a time that is much needed and we are really happy about this project,” Dr Al Ashban told the GDN.
“The initial production will be multivitamins that will boost the immune system of people, which is our goal so that we can fight any such infection in the future.
“This product, we believe, is important as well in terms of research and development and as well as in manufacturing in the region.
“Until now we have been depending on the West for our pharmaceutical needs and this project will reduce the cost in terms of transportation and purchase.”
Meanwhile, Dr Al Jalahma, who described the project as “a milestone achievement” for Bahrain, added that 95pc work is completed on a second factory, Gulf Biotech, under the same management, which will produce emergency drugs.
“Work is 95pc complete on the second project, which is in the final stage,” she said.
“By end of December we are expecting the documents to be submitted for NHRA approval.”
This was endorsed by Dr Al Ashban who acknowledged the delays caused due to Covid-19, but added that he was optimistic the factory will be ready by the year end.
The GDN reported earlier this year that the $80m Gulf Biotech, a joint initiative between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, was to undergo its final inspection in April and to start production by the end of the year.
“The Gulf Biotech factory will be producing injection vials of some of the most emergency drugs including adrenalin and analgesics,” explained Dr Al Ashban yesterday.
“There is a shortage of these drugs worldwide, which are needed for emergency and we are proud to be announcing the proposed production of these drugs in Bahrain using the best of technology.
“This ensures good quality, safe and secure production, which will be the first-of-its-kind in the Middle East based in Bahrain with the technical support by Bosch.”
These factories can bring in more such investments into the country, and the country is hopeful of producing antibiotics in the future, added Dr Al Jalahma.