World’s biggest insulin maker invests in Iran


Denmark’s Novo Nordisk is investing 70 million euros in Iran for the production of a new generation of insulin drugs, officials from the two countries say. 

The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Food and Drug Organization of Iran (FDO) to build a manufacturing plant in the next two years, FDO head Rasoul Dinarvand said on Tuesday.

“The investment in Iran is made for producing a new generation of insulin drugs and we are confident that besides meeting our own needs, we will be able to export the products to the Middle East and part of Africa,” he said.

The world’s biggest insulin maker will manufacture Novo Nordisk’s FlexPen prefilled devices in a project expected to last five years, Danish officials said.

“It signals our long-term commitment to Iran, a country where close to 5 million people have diabetes,” said Ole Moelskov Bech, corporate vice president of Novo Nordisk Business Area Near East, in a statement.

Dinarvand said he hoped the location for the plant will be decided in the next six months and necessary licenses issued.

“We are pleased that this company (Novo Nordisk) has chosen Iran as the sixth country for investment,” he said, adding other foreign companies are also ready to invest.

“International companies interested in Iran must know that the way to take over part of the Iranian market is not in imports. Rather, they have to invest in Iran and manufacture products on our soil,” Dinarvand said.

The 100-year-old pharmaceutical industry in Iran is relatively advanced for a developing country, although it is limited to formulation of generic drugs and imports of new and hi-tech medical products.

The industry is regulated by the government, where production and importation of drugs is heavily subsidized. The government has dedicated significant resources to the sector in recent years as part of its policy to make medicine accessible and affordable.

Iranian patients experienced a period of acute shortages after the Europeans and the US intensified their sanctions on the country, which exhausted supplies of life-saving drugs.

Iran’s pharmaceutical market experienced a sharp growth last year, rising to $1.2 billion. There are as many as 65 pharmaceutical companies in the country, but their operations are basically limited to local formulation.


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