Way back in the 70s, Dr. Ahmed ElBadawi M.E.Hamid kept asking a question why there was no drug industry in Sudan. He answered his own question and fulfilled his dream in the mid-70s by laying the foundations of Amipharma Laboratories Ltd.
He started with an infrastructure for manufacturing pharmaceuticals in a space not more than 10,000 sq.mts and yet adhered to all International Regulations specified by World Health Organization’s guidelines of Good Manufacturing Practices.
The factory started after selecting a limited number of academically qualified Pharmacists, Chemists, Engineers and Technicians. During this time Prof.Hendricks, Consultant of UNIDO and Head of Department of Pharmaceutical Technology at Ghent University, Belgium, played a significant role for Amipharma. He arranged for training the personnel in Belgium in the field of production, quality control and good manufacturing practices before the commencement of production. Prof. Hendricks also selected the machines and instruments for the quality control laboratory. Amipharma can never forget Prof.Hendricks contribution.
Production started in April 1983 in small batches of limited products with two production lines for tablets and capsules using semi-automatic machines operated by limited number of workers. High quality products at reasonable prices compared to the imported medicines created an increased demand. The company had to import high-tech fully automatic machines by air to cope with the increasing demand. Within only two years of launch, Amipharma products were competing with imported products from Europe specially those of Beecham International. Beecham used to control the market of antibiotics in Sudan those days despite their high prices. Beecham responded to the stiff competition given by Amipharma by assigning contract manufacturing and a contract was signed between both parties. According to this deal, Amipharma obtained the license to produce some of Beecham products at a lower price than the imports, while Amipharma continued to produce the same products at lower prices than that of Beecham. This joint venture continued till the year 2000. Beecham today is part of the giant GSK after merger, which is the top company in the world. This contract manufacturing by Amipharma for European company Beecham undoubtedly had a positive effect and Amipharma gained the trust of Pharmacists and Doctors of Sudan. Moreover, this joint venture made the local company take major steps for development by enhancing their production lines, adding new lines such as dry powders, syrups and suspensions. It was not only the production lines which were developed but also the instruments in the quality control laboratory. Even the infrastructure grew in size and the space of the manufacturing facility increased fivefold to the current 58000 sq.mts.
Amipharma today produces more than 100 products in different dosage forms, strengths and in many therapeutic categories, most importantly antibiotics, antihypertensives, antidiabetics, analgesics and medicines for endemic diseases like malaria and stomach flu.
In its journey of 35 years, Amipharma has earned its reputation and is now a name that people trust. To reach out to all patients throughout Sudan, the company has distribution offices in Nyala, Atbara, and Medani including Khartoum.
To meet the needs of the patients in Sudan, the local industries should start manufacturing Injections, Eye Drops and Inhalers. Amipharma has benefited from this Government’s policy of boosting the local industries which allows national industry to outsource these new dosage forms through contract manufacturing. Amipharma has collaborated with leading companies to manufacture for them for 3 years during which Amipharma will construct production facilities and transfer the technology to carry out local manufacturing of inhalers, injections, eye, ear and nasal drops.
At the export front the company has registered its products in Kenya, Chad and Eritrea. It has already exported to Eritrea and registration processes are going on for other neighbouring countries.
Amipharma is driven by social responsibility and has provided jobs and opportunities for Sudanese men and women. There are 850 employees in the factory engaged in different fields of technology, pharmaceutics, chemistry and management along with the skilled workers and about 300 people in the various distribution offices.
Training opportunities are being provided to students and graduates. Amipharma sponsors research in different fields including universities in Sudan, provides summer jobs for students to financially help them, supports medical convoys to different areas of Sudan financially and with medicines, sponsors scientific and medical conferences, rewards outstanding students in Sudanese universities, supports departments of chronic diseases in many hospitals and also supports and sponsors environment safety projects.
Dr.Ahmed Elbadawi M.E. Hamid CEO & Managing Director of Amipharma was sharing his success story at Arab-Afro Medica 2017 at Friendship Hall. Khartoum 12-14 Dec’17 organised by Arab Union for Industrial Exports Development (AUIED).
At the end Dr.Ahmed concluded by saying “We believe that the success we have accomplished was with God’s help, we were granted the elements of success in the form of financial resources, although it’s a family business yet the profits go back directly to its capital. Qualified personnel are continuously being trained in and outside Sudan. There are clear business agenda and work plans in all departments. We are setting short and long term expansion plans. Our accommodating work environment has given us loyal workers who give their best and cooperate as a family. Today, praise be to Allah, each and every product coming out of any of Amipharma’s production lines is committed to our mission of providing ‘High Quality Medicines to Benefit a Patient at an Affordable Price.
This is not the end, but the beginning to realize our vision.”