DUBAI, -- The UAE is close to being self-sufficient in producing generic drugs as 16 pharmaceutical facilities are manufacturing up to 1,000 such drugs. The country is also planning to increase the number of facilities to 30 by 2020, according to a senior official from the Ministry of Health and Prevention.

This is another indication of the strong growth of the pharmaceutical industry and the efforts being exerted to improve the UAE's global competitiveness, said Dr Ameen Hussain Al Amiri, the Ministry's Assistant Under-Secretary for Public Health and Licensing, while speaking at a workshop on the pharmaceutical industry, organised by the Ministry today.

"The global biopharmaceutical market is huge as manufacturers are planning to produce biopharmaceuticals - biologic medications or biologics - using living organisms and DNA. Producing biologics is more expensive and more effective than generic drugs; however, biologics will remain less expensive," added Al Ameri, who is also Vice Chairman of the Ministry's Drug Pricing and Registration Higher Committee.

A biopharmaceutical is any pharmaceutical drug product manufactured in, extracted from or semi-synthesised from biological sources. Different from totally synthesised pharmaceuticals, these include vaccines, blood, blood components, allergenics, somatic cells, gene therapies, tissues, recombinant therapeutic protein and living cells used in cell therapy.

Source: Emirates News Agency