Home  :  Site Map  :  Contact us  :  Français


Over View

Syria's Key Indicators

Industry Structure


Export \ Import

Quality & Technical Standards



Over View

Pharmaceutical in Syria:

The Pharmaceutical industry is relatively young in Syria .only 15 years ago Syria had to import over 82 percent of its drug needs and there were only two state-owned factories supplying the country .however , since that period tens of companies have been established and local production is estimated to cover around 90 percent of demand .Capacity is estimated to be twice market demand which in turn is estimated at around USD 300 million per year . Exports of pharmaceuticals represent only a negligible share of total exports although they have grown exponentially in the last three years .


Syria's Key Industrial (2004)

Population (million) : 17.8
Area (sq km): 185.180
GDP (USD, billion) : 23.1
Per capita GDP (USD) : 1.300
GDP growth (%) : 3.6
Exports (FOB , USD million) : 4.823
Imports (CIF, USD million) : 5.177
Current account balance (USD million) : 514
Unemployment rate (%) : 16
Human Development Index : 0.721
Literacy rate (%) : 83
Currency : Syrian Pound (EUR1= SYP 63.25 on 18/04/2006)
Capital : Damascus
Official Language : Arabic



 Industry Structure

Inputs :
Syria produces only little active material and 85 percent of total input value is estimated to be of foreign content. While the import of drugs that are manufactured in Syria is banned , items not produced in the country can be brought in . the main import items are serums , vaccines , cancer treatment medicines , insulin , etc . Saydalaya , a state-owned organization , has the monopoly of imports of manufactured drugs although the Government is expected to open this market to the private sector . there is almost no research and development due to the lack of patent protection .

Control and regulatory authority :
Strict control is exercised by the ministry of Health (MOH) over the industry . the MOH which established a Good Manufacturing Practice guideline in conjunction with the World Health Organization , enforces strong quality controls and has the capacity to close outright any plant that does not abide by its standards . the MOH also sets the price of any drug that is produced and sold in Syria with the aim of making medicines available to all segments of society .

There are 52 firms producing pharmaceutical products . Syria has the largest number of pharmaceutical companies compared with any other Arab market , even though its domestic market size is smaller than many others . Private capital inflows have increased significantly in the last decade thanks to the involvement of several major industrial and trading groups in the drug industry . the two largest cities in the country , Aleppo and Damascus host the largest industrial firms . Alpha , Assia, Oubari and Amrit are among the leading firms based in Aleppo , while MPI , Avenzor , Thameco and Unipharma are located in the Syrian capital . Businesses operating in the industry can be divided in three large groups : (1) 8 or 9 large firms that have adopted modern production and marketing techniques and produce both their own generic products as well as licensed ones . these companies have a broad range of products and are starting to export . Among them is Thameco , one of the two state-owned . Companies active in the industry (2) around 25 midsized companies producing mainly generic products and selling to the domestic market with only limited exports ; (3) around 25 smaller companies that have limited product ranges and often operate intermittently .

Distribution :
The estimated size of the Syrian pharmaceutical market is between USD 250 and 350 million at wholesale prices . local manufactures , including the two state owned plants , cover around 90 percent of market demand while imports , making up the balance , stand at between USD 30 and 50 million according to official statistics . Distribution is via 8.000 pharmacies spread throughout the country . on average there are around 2.125 inhabitants per pharmacy . the MoH sets prices according to a formula that includes all production and marketing costs , plus a 20 percent profit margin for the manufacturer . Prices of Licensed products are usually set at around a 50 percent premium . foreign firms can not open subsidiaries but are allowed to open "scientific offices " which can conduct marketing activities for their products , whether they are imported or produces under license . the strong price controls exercised by the Ministry have two negative consequences : one of these is psychological as many patients are often reluctant to buy cheap medicines that they associate with poor quality ; the other is that the downward pressure on prices is forcing some manufacturers to limit costs and research and development .

Syrian firms lack experience in international trading and marketing and the relatively small size of most firms operating in the industry does not help to improve matters . the sector as a whole lacks any joint marketing efforts or a trade association however , the Syrian European Business Centre has provided support to boost exports . A key issue for access to world markets is the absence of patents and the difficulty in implementing and enforcing intellectual property rights in Syria .



Syrian official statistics only provide production figures on the basis of presentation formats . the data available show a significant surge in production volumes . no figures on the value of production are available . however , strict controls by the MoH on prices in the domestic market ensure that unit values remain relatively low .


Production of Pharmaceuticals ('000)


Export \ Import

According to official statistics , Syria exports only to ten countries , eight of them being in the Arab World , the others being Russia and Armenia .Iraq alone is the destination of almost half of the country's exports .88 percent of drug exports go to the top four destination markets , which are all in the Arab world . there is a contradiction between theses figures and those of the Department of Trade of the European Commission , which reports that Syrian exports to the EU reached EUR 1.5 million in 2004
Although at a low level , exports have surged in the last few years  in the period 2001-2004 they increased 18 times .

According to official Syrian statistics , total imports of Pharmaceutical products were between USD 40 and 43 million in 2004 , depending on the basis of calculation . Antibiotics alone represent over half this figure . in terms of countries of origin , Syria has a very diversified import base . the European Union , India and the United States of America are among the country's main suppliers . the top ten supply 80 percent of all drugs imported into Syria . Syrian statistics do not match with the EU's figures. According to DG Trade of the European Commission , the EU exported 52 million euros worth of drugs to Syria in 2004 , roughly twice as high as the Syrian figure

   Exports by Destination (2004)

 Comparative Exports to EU ( € )

   Comparative Imports to EU ( € )


 Quality & Technical Standards

The standards for the production of Pharmaceuticals must meet the criteria of Good Manufacturing Practice of the Ministry of Health that were developed with the World Health Organization .


 References and Publications

::  Pharma Syria 2006 , the Syria Report , 2006
::  The Statistical Abstract , Central Bureau of Statistics , 2004&2005.
::  Summery of Foreign Trade 2005 , Central Bureau of Statistics , 2005 .
::  Profile of the Syrian Pharmaceutical Sector , SEBC , 2003 .
::  The Impact of the Euro-Med Association Agreement on the Syrian Pharmaceutical Sector , SEBC , 2003
::  The Syrian Pharmaceutical Market (in French) , French Trade Mission , Damascus , 2003
::  The Distribution of Pharmaceuticals in Syria (in French) , Letter de Syria , French Trade Mission , Damascus, September  
::  2005 .
::  Market Access Database , DG Trade , European Commission :



Home  |  About us  Products  |  World Wide & Affiliates  |  Shop Online  |  Reports & Facts  |  Site map  |  Contact us

Copyrights 2007 ©

Sabbagh Charabati Co. All Rights Reserved

Designed and Developed by arabEra®