Jordanian pharmaceutical products and medical supplies invade the global markets

The products of the Jordanian medical industries and medical supplies sector have invaded the global markets and have reached 90 countries in various parts of the globe, to be a national industry with distinction across borders.

The sector, which contributes 2 percent of the gross domestic product, includes 180 factories distributed between pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, spread across the country, while there are 15 factories outside the Kingdom, which made this industry a regional and international success story.

During the Coronavirus crisis, the sector witnessed many success stories by producing basic products to confront the epidemic, most notably reaching the manufacture of 5 million masks per day, developing and manufacturing ventilators, designing three mobile and expandable hospitals, fully equipped with medical devices, in addition to manufacturing preventive medical supplies, clothes, caps and facemasks for the epidemiological teams.

The head of the Jordan Chamber of Industry, Mr. Fathi Al-Jaghbir, said that during the Corona pandemic, the sector showed its great productivity capabilities in providing many basic goods to the citizens and various sectors, supporting the Kingdom's strategic stock, and achieving self-sufficiency, especially in sterilizers, disinfectants, medicines and medical supplies.  

He added, "Perhaps the most prominent characteristic of the sector is its dependence on Jordanian arms at various administrative and technical levels, as it constitutes more than 96 percent of the total number of workers, whose number is more than 10,000 male and female workers. This explains the important role of the sector in reducing unemployment rates and providing sustainable job opportunities.”

In an interview with Jordan News Agency (Petra), Mr. Al-Jaghbir emphasized that the therapeutic industries and medical supplies sector is considered as one of the highest economic sectors in the Kingdom that employs women, as the percentage of female workers in factories reached 23 percent of the total employment.

He indicated that the annual current production volume for the medical industries and medical supplies is approximately 1.5 billion Jordanian dinars, thus constituting 8 percent of the total existing production for the entire industrial sector, and the added value constitutes 46 percent of the total existing production.

Mr. Al-Jaghbir referred to a study prepared by the Jordanian industry, which showed that the production of therapeutic industries and medical supplies directed to the local market covers an average of more than 54 percent of the total consumption of therapeutic materials and medical supplies in the Kingdom. This indicates the quality of the Jordanian industry and its ability to meet the needs.

According to the Chamber's president, the volume of Jordanian pharmaceutical and medical exports during the past year 2019 amounted to approximately 436 million Jordanian dinars, thus controlling 9 percent of the total national exports, indicating that they reach 90 countries around the world.

Jordan's production of detergents reaches 200 thousand tons per year, and 150 thousand tons of disinfectants. As for hand sanitizers, the Kingdom's production reached 25 thousand tons annually.

Mr. Al-Jaghbir listed several challenges that have a direct impact on the development of the sector and increase its investments, including the exclusion of the sector from export subsidies, the limited local market and the increase in barriers to the entry into export markets as a result of the emergence of a pharmaceutical industry that enjoys privileges, huge markets and protectionist policies as part of support strategies at the highest levels.

Among these challenges, is competing with imported products, and the closure of Arab and regional markets, which have limited the exchange and flow of goods, in addition to the non-tariff barriers imposed by these countries, the multiplicity of regulatory requirements and the length of time registering drugs from the regulatory authorities locally and internationally.

Mr. Al-Jaghbir called for policies to replace the foreign medicine with Jordanian medicine, to be careful in registering generic medicines, and to periodically inspect generic medicine companies in the Kingdom, as well as treating reciprocally with countries that hinder the export of Jordanian medicine and raise the market share of Jordanian medicine locally.

He also called for expediting the registration of Jordanian medicines with Jordan Food and Drug Administration to achieve growth in the number of Jordanian medicines registered locally, and consequently to the export markets, and to allocate committees to complete all procedures related to the registration of Jordanian medicine in addition to the existing ones, and to give Jordanian medicine priority in registration, renewal of registration, analysis and pricing.

The Chamber's Chairman called for the completion of the various data related to patents with high accuracy and the strengthening of the Industrial Property Directorate with the necessary human and material capabilities and program, and not to sign any bilateral or international agreements that include any additional obligations related to intellectual property on the pharmaceutical industry.

Mr. Al-Jaghbir also demanded to allow the operation of existing incinerators, and not to limit the disposal of waste to the Ministry of Environment or to investors, which hinders the disposal process and increases costs, and to allow the establishment of new incinerators for companies wishing to do so according to the acceptable conditions locally and internationally, in addition to facilitating the procedures for waste disposal.

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