Bal Pharma, Karnataka's mid-sized pharma company, is gearing up to establish its business in the Middle East market. The company is now exploring opportunities for finished formulation for the over-the-counter drugs and branded generics.

 The markets of Middle East, comprising United Arab Emeritus (UAE) and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, are highly regulated but have immense opportunities for Indian pharma companies. While UAE insist on approval from Europe and US regulators for approval, countries like Oman, and Qatar are now showing an increased interest for Indian pharmaceuticals which produced under good manufacturing practices compliance. This is where Bal Pharma is exploring the region with its herbal range too, Archana Dubey Mitra, associate vice president, API & Exports, Bal Pharma Limited told Pharmabiz.

The Middle East is an import-oriented destination but the stringent regulations do not offer high market potential for pharmaceutical products. The region was much dependent on pharmaceutical supplies from the European Union. Of late, the Middle East governments have opened up local manufacturing units and this provides opportunities to Indian companies to enter the market with its range of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). "Currently, our business is focused in the formulations under OTC segment. But we also have a range of APIs like gliclazide, amiloride, benzydamine, and ebastine. The herbal product market in Middle East is also opening up and there are possibilities now available to get the products registered. We are exploring this opportunity," stated Mitra.

Bal Pharma has an office in Dubai which helps to streamline the marketing process. The company also operates through agents and distributors.

In addition, Middle East region unlike India does not have much of local manufacturing and depends a lot on imports. Due to regulatory standard operations, the pharma multinational companies are having a monopoly with high pricing.