The first consignment of British manufactured medicines has been exported to Iraq by a new Yorkshire pharmaceuticals wholesaler and distributor set up to give Iraqi people access to high-quality treatments.
A combination of prescription and over-the-counter medicines widely available in the UK has been sent sea freight by CurePharma, Thorp Arch Estate, near Wetherby, which receives support and advice from overseas trade specialist, Chamber International.
CurePharma was launched by director, Mustafa Al-Shalechy, 27, and business development manager, Ali Alshamari, 28, who gained masters level pharmacy degrees at University of Bradford, to export British pharmaceutical and healthcare products to Iraq where many people cannot get access, or afford, adequate treatment for many chronic illnesses.
The initial consignment, sourced through a UK pharmaceuticals company, included several different medicines including antiplatelets, used to prevent cardiovascular disease and the common pain reliever, paracetamol.
The medicines, worth around £50,000 in current prescription and retail values, were sent to a large pharmaceutical distributor in Baghdad, and will now be delivered to hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.
Mustafa Al-Shalechy says: “This is our first step in solving difficulties faced by millions of Iraqi people in obtaining modern medicines to treat many common illnesses such as diabetes in a way that we take for granted in the UK.
“A long contraction in the Iraqi economy means that modern medicines are either unavailable or prohibitively expensive for ordinary working people and those that are available are poor quality.
“We aim to improve the quality of many peoples’ lives by making these medicines available and also to play a role in boosting the UK economy by stimulating demand for British medical products in Iraq and throughout the Middle East and becoming a link between UK manufacturers and overseas consumers.
“Demand for high quality medicines is growing in Iraq. A lot of drug stores are springing up and with the health ministries, private and public hospitals and clinics and dispensaries, there is a significant and growing market for British medicines.”
Mustafa Al-Shalechy, who, like Ali Alshamari, came to the UK with his family in the 1990s, adds: “Identifying and exporting UK medicines is a lengthy process as we must get the products licensed for use in Iraq but once everything is in place we expect to be exporting shipments monthly.”
CurePharma is an authorised wholesale distributor recognised by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) as operating in line with guidelines for good distribution practice by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Ali Alshamari adds: “We are creating partnerships with several high-quality UK brands who want to work with us in developing new overseas markets for their products. We eventually plan to supply a wider range of medicines, including those for cardiovascular, gastro-intestinal, diabetes, respiratory and other conditions, as well as medical equipment.
“Chamber International has been extremely helpful both with practical advice and support but also in helping us refine and develop our original vision for the business.”
Chamber International senior export adviser, David Attia, who is advising CurePharma, says: “CurePharma’s has a model export initiative meeting a genuine and humane need in Iraq while creating new overseas markets for British products. The business has significant growth potential and we look forward to helping CurePharma to achieve it.”
Chamber International helps hundreds of new and experienced exporters with a wide range of specialist services to make exporting easier and more cost effective each year and is exclusively partnered with London headquartered global testing organisation, Intertek, to assist with a wide range of issues including product conformity.
FIRST DELIVERY: CurePharma director, Mustafa Al-Shalechy (left) with Chamber International senior export adviser, David Attia, and samples of the medicines the company has exported in its first delivery to Iraq