Basha’er Addawa Trading Co. of Saudi Arabia is proceeding with its plan to invest $30 million in the local pharmaceutical industry, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority said Wednesday.
The company decided to enforce the memorandum of understanding it signed with the Philippines for $30 million in investments in medical and health innovations. The MOU, signed with President Rodrigo Duterte during a diplomatic trip to Saudi Arabia in 2017, called for the manufacture of basic and generic medicines.
PEZA Director-General Charito Plaza said the investment may also cover vaccine production. “They may include vaccines as the global need for this escalates,” she said.
Plaza said Senator Francis Tolentino brokered the deal with Basha’er for investment in the Philippines. The company’s pharmaceutical products include therapeutic drugs, oncology drugs, medications for diabetes and hypertension.
The Saudi company is looking at a one-hectare site in an economic zone to set up its pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, according to PEZA.
PEZA said the investment would employ Filipino workers once a manufacturing plant was established.
Plaza said Pfizer and Moderna Inc. also have their eyes set on the Philippines for the production of their COVID-19 vaccines. She did not elaborate.
Both Pfizer and Moderna claimed their separate vaccines proved more than 90-percent effective during clinical trials.
The vaccines, however, would require complex logistical procedures if they are manufactured in the US and distributed across the world.