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The opening of the first laboratory for cancer drugs locally and in the Arab world

Syria celebrated the opening of the first cancer medicine laboratory in the Middle East last week with full local expertise. The factory, which opened in the industrial city of Adra in Damascus countryside, belongs to the Central Company for Pharmaceutical Industries, "Menfarma. The factory, which seeks to "ensure the availability of medicine in the market at economical prices," and a production capacity of up to 6000 vials and ampoules per hour from the sterile fluid line, and 12000 tablets per hour from the line of tablets.

Syria Times newspaper met the company's CEO Dr. Adnan Jafo to speak about this great achievement despite the difficult circumstances and the war suffered by Syria. Dr. Adnan Jafo said "the health ministry's plan, as he knows, is to work on the manufacture of generic drugs, especially to treat cancer and vaccines to secure the need of the local market."

In the opening ceremony of the plant. The Syrian health minister Nizar Yazji said that the ministry imports some kind of quality medicine, "from friendly countries after the departure of agents of a number of foreign pharmaceutical companies from Syria as a result of the terrorist war on them and unilateral coercive economic measures, adding that the ministry provides free medication for chronic diseases through 1864 health centers and about 150 hospitals in various provinces.

Adnan Jafo, CEO of the company, said that "the factory will cover 70% of the total chemotherapeutic varieties and its production that meets the needs of the local market and is sufficient for export."

The plant is scheduled to begin production in 2020 of 8 varieties of aseptic liquid line and 8 varieties of compressed grain line, as the first stage to reach the target of 20 varieties in each line by the end of next year, according to Jafo. With less price"

Cancer medicines are expensive medicines imported by the country and are provided free of charge in some specialized hospitals. However, the availability of these drugs has been scarce since the beginning of the crisis in the country, especially with the lack of local alternative and full dependence on imports.

Jafo explained that the factory faced obstacles due to the economic sanctions imposed on Syria, but was able to overcome them through cooperation with foreign companies that support the production lines of cancer drugs and through the support of Syrian government institutions.

Jafo stressed that the opening of the factory is a good start to do more in the production of certain types of drugs that have not yet been produced in Syria.

"This is the qualitative launch of the first factory to produce cancer drugs, and I hope to make more generic drugs for cancer as well as vaccines because this is part of the Ministry of Health's action plan," Dr. Adnan Jafo said.

Dr. Jafo said that the concerned authorities provide all facilities for the establishment of industrial facilities in various fields, indicating that the number of facilities and factories in the industrial city of Adra reached 1200 factories and is expected to reach next year to 2400 factories, including 20 factories for pharmaceutical manufacturing.

It is noteworthy that the industrial sector in Syria began to recover with the exit of militants from the eastern and southern countryside of Damascus and the recycling of the wheel of the economy, but still suffers from some difficulties due to Western economic sanctions imposed on Syria.

Dr. Adnan Jafo confirmed that the establishment and strengthening of the manufacturing of anticancer products in Syria was fulfilled through contracting with the leading international companies to transfer production and analysis technology, utilize the transferred technology, and build world-class manufacturing capabilities. The aim now is to provide appropriate medical training to enable health care providers in local health institutions to serve their community better and increase the efficiency of cancer treatment. Dr. Adnan conclude.

MainPharma, the mother of the new plant, is located in the food and drug zone in Adra industrial city, 40 km north of Damascus, Syria. MainPharma is committed to be the leading provider of life-saving medications in the Middle East and North Africa. These medications are produced using the state of art technology and international quality standards. The company signed a manufacturing under license contract along with the Technology Transfer License with KOREA UNITED PHARM, a leading pharmaceutical company in South Korea. MainPharma aims to manufacture pharmaceutical products that meet the expected needs in terms of quality, efficacy and safety in accordance with national laws and regulations and the relevant international guidelines to meet the expectations of customers and healthcare professionals.

About drug manufacturing and medication is Syria, a total of 96 pharmaceutical factories operate in the country, covering 93 percent of domestic needs. At a government meeting last month, health minister said that since the beginning of 2019, more than 25.7 million health and medical services have been provided to citizens in ministry hospitals and centers. He pointed out that the fact that there had been no epidemics in Syria throughout the war was "an achievement and a miracle."

Interviewed by: Haifaa Mafalani

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