Posted by: randomconsistentideas | June 21, 2007

Jordan’s Pharmaceutical Industry and Tomatoes

Following are two very good examples of business in Jordan that helps in the Globalization race:

1- The Pharmaceutical Industry:

2- Abo Al-Adas, the Tomato exporter:

The Pharmaceutical Industry in Jordan is one of the very interesting phenomena in our small country. They started in the 1960s, I think Dar Al-Hekma was the first and they had a good profitable beginning. Just by the laws of market, many other entrepreneurs started their own pharmaceutical factories, and lo and behold, 50 years later, we have a whole industry. Jordan alone has 16-17 pharmaceutical companies, some of which are leading exporters of medicine to the Arab world, and even Europe and soon the USA.

I think Pharmaceuticals is a great example for other industries – we need to start seeds today in Jordan that will grow and provide good country-income of foreign currency. (Now of course, just like in any industry where you have many companies, some are excellent, and others are very very bad – some treat their employees well, and others use them miserably… but the market always proved to be a good judge: only successful well-managed companies can survive with competition).

Since there are many local markets, the marketing and sales practices of these companies in the local market are very efficient. My wife happened to work in these companies, and from what she explains, the competition has pushed these companies to fine-tune their processes so much, mistakes and errors are caught quickly. Unfortunately, this also has evolved into “soft-bribing” doctors to get their recommendations. Soft-bribes are like “sending a professor to Italy for a ‘medical conference’ for 2-3 days, along with his family”!

Here’s a very good article and analysis of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Jordan by the Oxford Business Group:


  1. our country is full of stories just like Abu El Adas. we only hope that our Office-Job- only mentality changes in order for us to keep producing successful people just like Abu El Adas.

  2. Are you talking about the sales representative or those doctors within the Jordan FDA being bribed to approve medicines for sale in the marketplace. The soft bribing between sales representative and doctors, as you describe it, has been taking place for many years in the US, but has recently been curtailed by the US FDA. In terms of gaining agency approval for medicines, the bribing I am sure is quite minimal as the clinical study trial data speaks for itself and the industry is highly regulated.

    With the costs skyrocketing to bring potential medicines to market (estimates put this currently at $850,000,000) and countless billions being spent on hundreds of potiential medicines that never make it anywhere near human clinical trials, I think the Jordan Pharma companies lack the financial captial to develop and market new medicines on their own in the US. Their limited funding could be used to discover potential compounds and either co-develop or sell the rights to larger pharmaceutical companies. Further the production of generics has recently been less lucrative than in the past, as the original patent owners now undercut the price of the generics but rather than using generics they use the original product.

    All in all, I think these Jordanian company’s can learn alot from their US counterparts, but they must find ways to effectively use their very limited resources if they are to remain successful and become players in the global market.

  3. Globalorama, agreed. And the attitude starts by picking a beany name🙂

    Very informative evaluation – thanks much.
    As for developing medicines from scratch – yes, it’s very expensive, but I think making it in the generics prepares a company to grow and eventually maybe try some real development on its own. (Supposedly, Dar AlHekma, the oldest of the companies, has started to patent its own products – some type of ointments I think).

    If you feel you have any more to offer, please feel free to add to the comment box.

  4. I believe that Al Hekma group is trying to bring in Advanced technology through mergers and acquisitions. I think it was earlier this year that they bought a small German company. It is also what Saudi Petrochemical companies are doing. soon enough, through King Fahd university, we will start seeing the development of Saudi technology.

    others to look at:
    Fadi Ghandour: founder of Aramex.
    Shoman family: the Arab Bank.
    Fahed Tueimeh: Chili House owner.
    Alal Abu Ghazaleh: Abu Ghazaleg Group.
    Dr. Amjad Aryan: founder of Pharmacy 1 (chain of 19 pharmacies)

    Another good article about the Pharmaceutical Industry in Jordan:

  5. There is one thing that I care most when talking about globalization; it is efficiency and how to balance it with social responsibility, but in jordan I think we forgot everything about social responsibility and we still look at employees and workers like slaves..

  6. […] the arab world will fall into it soon.More interesting posts about Globalization & Arab World:Jordan’s Pharmaceutical Industry and TomatoesIndustrial Jordan in the Age of […]

  7. besides the point that stories like abu adas will be relic of the past when it hits 5th gear in the country.
    With globalization comes intellectual property, and enforcement of that property. Now the industry in jordan operates on producing royalty free medication, with the cheap cost the bottom line is competitive. They don’t have the capitol to invest in R&D, or marketing for that matter, and they are unable to profitably produce royalty drugs. now with talks in Europe and the united states about allowing extension on the intellectual license this will in effect cause all the generic producers to be pushed aside, and even when the law is with them (the WTO allows for poor countries to break IP laws, india and brazil are doing that with AIDS cocktail drugs) the pharmaceutical industries and corporations (the true face of globalization) will coerce people to see things their way.
    So in essence its a free market for the corporations and not for anyone

  8. Salam Bambam,
    Worthy pharmaceutical companies in Jordan are preparing for this move, and they will make drugs and follow the laws of IP. and some of them are also trying to develop their own IP.

    if weak companies cannot compete in the world market, even after a 40-50 years of “protected” existence, then they don’t really deserve to survive.

    Globalization simply makes the competition global. This is not due to certain laws that Jordan will allow. this is due to the nature of the world. to succeed our jordanian companies will have to think and work harder, but when they win, they will win big (just think of Skype)

    if you are against globalization, tell me what alternative do you have? what different course of action can we take? Avoiding globalization is not possible, simply because the world is connected today. (unless you want to wall off jordan, almost like Burma of the 80s)

  9. i need some thing dear

  10. I love it when folks come together and share thoughts. Great blog,
    keep it up!

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