ABU DHABI — Neopharma, a UAE pharmaceutical firm in Abu Dhabi, has obtained permission from the UAE Ministry of Health to produce and distribute a generic version of the antiviral medication Tamiflu for use in treating the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu.
Sources at Neopharma say that Tamiflu tablets will be available for distribution locally this month and will also be exported throughout the region.
General Director and CEO of Neopharma’s parent company, the NMC Group, Dr Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty said the company's plant in Abu Dhabi has the capacity to produce 20 million capsules weekly of Oseltamivir BR Flu, the active ingredient in Tamiflu that fights the H1N1 virus.
Shetty also told reporters, "We are pleased that the Ministry of Health has allowed us to start helping in the fight against this epidemic…We are confident that the approval (to produce) Oseltamivir will significantly help those working in the medical sector and in the community in general to fight the H1N1 virus in the region."
The UAE is one of the first countries to request the right to manufacture the drug from the parent company that makes Tamiflu. Sources close to the deal have not revealed details about the manufacturing licence.
The announcement comes at a time when residents of the UAE and the Gulf region are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new H1N1 vaccine, which is expected to reach the Middle East later this autumn.