MUMBAI, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Indian generic drugmaker Cipla Ltd has agreed to set up a manufacturing plant in Iran, as part of its strategy to boost its presence in the country’s $4 billion pharmaceuticals market that is growing at about 13 percent annually.
Cipla, which will own 75 percent stake in the plant being set up in partnership with its local distributor, will invest about 2.25 billion rupees ($36.65 million) over three years on areas including machinery and equipment for the facility.
The Indian drugmaker, which made headlines in 2001 by making antiretroviral medicines to treat AIDS in Africa for under $1 per day, gets more than half its revenue from markets outside India, including the United States and Europe.
Although the sanctions regime, imposed by the United States and European Union over Tehran’s nuclear programme, allows trade in humanitarian goods such as food and medicine, not many Indian drugmakers have significant presence in Iran.
“Cipla has been providing medicines to patients in Iran for several years and believes that Iranian patients cannot be denied to medicines due to sanctions,” the company said in a statement to Reuters on Tuesday.
“We have observed a high prevalence of respiratory disorders and cancer cases in Iran. There were also patients suffering with diseases like thalassemia, HIV/AIDS and heart diseases, who have been at a risk due to the impact of sanctions,” it said.
Setting up the plant will help in faster registrations of new products and will improve its competitive position, the company said, adding it does not expect any impact on its U.S. and European businesses due to its investments in Iran.
1 US dollar = 61.3950 Indian rupees Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee, editing by David Evans