First pharmaceutical manufacturing unit opens in Syrian opposition space

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ALEPPO, Syria — The Sharan subdistrict of Afrin within the northern countryside of Aleppo opened March 30 the primary pharmaceutical manufacturing unit within the areas managed by the Syrian opposition in northwestern Syria. The challenge managers search to cowl a part of the realm’s wants of medicines, they usually promise to extend manufacturing strains and drug varieties in the approaching interval.

Deputy head of the native council in Afrin Mohammed Sheikh Rashid; the deputy governor of Turkey’s Hatay province, whose title was not talked about; the top of the Afrin Health Directorate affiliated with the Syrian opposition’s self-styled interim authorities, Ahmed Haji Hassan; and several other authorized figures within the space attended the opening.

Khaled al-Khatib, a physician living within the northern countryside of Aleppo who’s a companion within the newly established pharmaceutical manufacturing unit named Sky Pharma, informed Al-Monitor, “The drug factory is a private company, owned by a group of Syrian partners, made up of industrialists, pharmacists and chemists who have experience in the field of manufacturing and marketing medicinal and pharmaceutical products.”

He mentioned, “The idea for a drug factory project began in early 2021, as we studied the market in opposition areas in the countryside of Aleppo and Idlib. We found that some medicines are missing or if found, their prices would be too high for the locals’ purchasing power. This encouraged us to move forward in implementing the idea and establishing a laboratory to manufacture medicines.”

Khatib famous that the companions funded the institution of the manufacturing unit, saying, “The laboratory is licensed by the Turkish Ministry of Health, and we also obtained a license from the Afrin Health Directorate and the local council of Sharan where the laboratory was built. Our company has established relations and cooperation protocols with Turkish pharmaceutical companies and laboratories approved by the Turkish Ministry of Health. A specialized committee from the ministry’s Medicines and Equipment Industry Corporation visited our laboratory twice during construction to ensure our compliance with international standards in the pharmaceutical industry.”

He added, “Our company has a laboratory equipped with all necessary devices and personnel to examine the raw materials and medicines, and we cooperate with certified Turkish laboratories to examine our medicines to ensure quality and increase the reliability of our products.”

Khatib identified, “The pharmaceutical factory has launched four production lines manufacturing tablets, capsules, suppositories and syrups for children. Five medicinal items will also be produced for children — anti-cough, anti-influenza, fever reducers, anti-flatulence and pain relieve medicines.” 

He added, “The factory’s daily production is 40,000 tablet bags, 12,000 syrup bottles, 25,000 capsule sachets and 20,000 suppositories packages.”

He defined that the medicine can be bought in all opposition-controlled areas within the countryside of Aleppo and Idlib, together with the Operation Peace Spring space east of the Euphrates, through transit by way of Turkish territory since these areas are separated by the areas below the management of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. “During the next six months we plan to increase our production by manufacturing 90 medicinal items,” he mentioned.

Khatib famous, “The current area of the laboratory is 1,000 square meters [0.2 acres], and we plan to expand in the coming months to 4,000 square meters [1 acre].”

Speaking in regards to the supply of the pharmaceutical laboratory machines, he mentioned, “We bought some from Turkey and others from India and China, while our raw materials for manufacturing medicines come from Turkey and India. The factory currently accommodates 25 male and female workers from different specialties, including pharmacists and chemists.”

Syrians in opposition-controlled areas in northwestern Syria endure below the chaos of drug commerce and the absence of oversight. Syrians battle to safe dependable drugs at low cost costs, amid the shortage of sure forms of medicines for persistent and different intractable ailments.

Mohammed Siddiq, a pharmacist within the countryside of Aleppo, informed Al-Monitor, “The majority of the medicines available in the pharmacies in opposition-controlled areas is imported from the Syrian regime’s areas in Aleppo through smuggling corridors in northern Aleppo; some were made in Aleppo and Damascus. But the bulk is from Chinese or Indian sources, which are unreliable and are not subject to the necessary standards and oversight. Many types of medicines are also imported from Turkey at very high prices.”

Siddiq known as on these answerable for the brand new drug manufacturing unit in Afrin to broaden manufacturing and manufacture many forms of high-quality medicines to be bought at costs that the poor within the space can afford.

Hassan, head of the Afrin Health Directorate, informed Al-Monitor, “We are suffering from an actual drug crisis in the opposition areas, and we hope that the pharmaceutical factory will contribute to providing medicines at lower prices to ease the burdens on citizens. We have a good human cadre that can manufacture medicines, and we hope that the laboratory will be a success and be able to cover the largest part of our area’s needs for medicine.”

He added, “The Health Directorate in Afrin is following up on the subject of analyses and the quality of medicine in the newly opened laboratory, in coordination with the Turkish Health Directorate in Hatay province. Raw materials and medicines will be periodically analyzed in specialized laboratories in Turkey to increase reliability and deliver safe and high-quality medicines to the people in the area.”

Hassan concluded, “The Afrin Health Directorate is reviewing a request submitted by a gaggle of individuals to construct a brand new laboratory additionally within the Afrin space, and they’re going to receive a license ought to their request meet the situations. We encourage having a number of drug factories as a result of this creates competitors from which residents would profit by accessing good drugs at an inexpensive value.”