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Sun 17 Nov 2019 09:47 AM

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Tackling diabetes in the Middle East with digitalised industry

Siemens solutions enable Julphar (Gulf Pharmaceuticals) to continue improving the lives of diabetes patients across the Middle East

Tackling diabetes in the Middle East with digitalised industry

For regional governments, healthcare providers and the patients themselves, ensuring an affordable and available supply of insulin to manage the disease is critical.


As the globe marks World Diabetes Day on November 14th, its prevalence in the Middle East remains a growing concern.

The International Diabetes Foundation says more than 26 million people in the Middle East live with the disease, and some estimates suggest this could double in the next 30 years.

For regional governments, healthcare providers and the patients themselves, ensuring an affordable and available supply of insulin to manage the disease is critical.

The UAE is home to one of the largest insulin manufacturers in the world; established in 1980, Julphar (Gulf Pharmaceuticals) was the first pharmaceutical manufacturer in the GCC and remains one of the largest in the Middle East. The company’s factory in Ras al Khaimah plays a key role in regional diabetes care, using advanced digital manufacturing technologies from Siemens to produce insulin, from crystals right through to the final packaged product. The plant has an annual production capability of 40 million insulin vials per year.

“The local production of insulin in the UAE addresses a growing need in the Middle East, and digitalizing the manufacturing process is essential to maintaining the affordability and extremely high quality required for medicines,” said Rebecca Vangenechten, Executive Vice President Process Automation, Siemens Middle East.

“Home-grown manufacturing in the Middle East is on the rise and it’s our intention to continue supporting the sector with its digital transformation, helping businesses to compete both regionally and globally.”

In order to keep the quality high and insulin affordable to the region’s population, the complex production at Julphar Diabetes is managed by a customised digital process control system, based on Siemens’ SIMATIC PCS 7 technology. The production of insulin is fully automated to minimize the need for human intervention and keep the quality high.

Digitalising the production allows the entire process to be remotely monitored from a central control room, as well as separately at each individual stage. In addition to the automation of insulin crystal production, the technology also integrates the affiliated tank farm, the fermentation process and communication with third-party software.

“Our people deserve no less, and with this technology we are able to produce high-quality and affordable insulin crystals right here in the UAE,” said Essam Hammad, Senior Director, Technical Operations – Biotechnology, Julphar Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries. 

“We have quickly been able to address a growing problem in the region by providing a product which is locally made, and we have also created local jobs and hired professionals from all across the region. At the end of the day, it’s about making life better for everyone.”

The Siemens solutions ensure the plant continues to improve its manufacturing process as time goes on, enabling Julphar to continue improving the lives of diabetes patients across the Middle East.

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