Saudi pharmaceutical industry to grow 10 percent in 2014

Updated 06 January 2014
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Saudi pharmaceutical industry to grow 10 percent in 2014

The pharmaceutical sector is predicted to grow by 10 percent and 9 percent in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC states respectively, local media said quoting experts.
The pharmaceutical market in the Kingdom is promising in terms of the number of factories, which stands at 13, or the volume of investments in the sector, Wail Al-Qasim, head of drug firms committee at Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), said.
The Kingdom is considered the major pharmaceuticals business player in the GCC, which was demonstrated in the government’s concern over the medical sector in general where some SR108 billion ($28.8 billion) was allocated in the budget for the sector, he was quoted by Asharq Al-Awsat daily as saying.
A recently-released report, meanwhile, said the GCC countries have captured 89 percent of the total medicine sales in the Middle East.
The report, released by British Deloitte firm, referred to the positive trends in the GCC region, including continued improvement in health care, governmental spending in technology and health education, establishment of a number of medical centers and strong growth of medical tourism.
However, certain factors remain, which will impede the growth of medicine sector in the region such as instability and upheavals prevailing in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the report said.
According to the report, the pharmaceutical firms in the region are experiencing pressures to repay debts due to rising costs and complexity in the global health system. The drug industry is primarily concentrated in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt and, to a lesser degree, in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar, the report said.
The pharmaceutical sector, especially bio-technology and medical technology in the MENA region are expected to face two key challenges in the current year - firstly, product registration and pricing and, secondly, protection of intellectual property, the report said.
The two issues together with the turmoil will adversely affect enthusiasm of global drug manufacturers in their endeavors to conduct research in the Middle East region, the report said.
The GCC countries have been supportive to the growth of medical sector due to the importance of their economic activity in the MENA region and the increased growth of their population, Hasib Jabir of Deloitte firm was quoted as saying.
Patent-registered drugs represent 90 percent of the total sales based on prescriptions in the MENA region; however, the major challenge in this context lies in the timely registration and approval of new products, the report added.


Oil prices rise after tanker attacks stoke Middle East tensions

Updated 12 min 36 sec ago
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Oil prices rise after tanker attacks stoke Middle East tensions

  • Second time in a month tankers have been attacked in the world’s most important zone for oil supplies
  • Washington blames Iran for Thursday’s attacks

TOKYO: Oil prices rose on Monday after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington will take all actions necessary to guarantee safe navigation in the Middle East, as tensions mounted following attacks on tankers last week.
Brent futures had climbed 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $62.27 a barrel by 0314 GMT. They gained 1.1 percent on Friday.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 17 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $52.68 a barrel. They rose 0.4 percent in the previous session.
Prices had jumped as much as 4.5 percent on Thursday after the attacks on two oil tankers near Iran and the Strait of Hormuz.
It was the second time in a month tankers have been attacked in the world’s most important zone for oil supplies as tensions increase between the United States and Iran. Washington blamed Iran for Thursday’s attacks, prompting a denial and criticism from Tehran.
“We don’t want war. We’ve done what we can to deter this,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News Sunday, adding: “The Iranians should understand very clearly that we will continue to take actions that deter Iran from engaging in this kind of behavior.”
Tensions between Iran and the United States have risen since US President Donald Trump pulled out of a deal last year between Iran and global powers that aimed to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief.
Iran has repeatedly warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz if it cannot sell its oil because of US sanctions.
“Growing tensions in the Middle East remain a cause for concern as traders fear supply disruptions over an escalation toward militaristic conflicts,” said Benjamin Lu, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
Also supporting prices were comments over the weekend by the Saudi energy minister, Khalid Al-Falih, that OPEC would probably meet in the first week of July and he hoped it would reach an agreement on extending oil output curbs.
“We are hoping that we will reach consensus to extend our agreement when we meet in two weeks time in Vienna,” Falih told reporters while attending a G20 energy and environment ministerial meeting in Karuizawa, northwest of Tokyo.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, have a deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1. The pact ends this month and the group meets in coming weeks to decide the next move.
US energy companies also cut the number of oil rigs operating for a second week in a row, with production growth expected to slow as crude prices fell to near their lowest levels of the year.