P&G eyes Gulf drugs move amid growing diabetes problem

Senior company official says it could invest in drugs to help fight 'epidemic' in the region.
P&G eyes Gulf drugs move amid growing diabetes problem
DIABETES DRUGS: P&G could invest in the fight against the growing problem of diabetes in the Gulf region. (Getty Images)
By Alex Delmar-Morgan
Thu 25 Jun 2009 06:30 AM

Product manufacturing giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) may look to invest in gastrointestinal and cardiac drugs amid a growing obesity problem in the Gulf, the company has said.

“Gastrointestinal type of drugs could play a big part [in] diabetes and the obesity epidemic we are facing,” Al Karim Al Rajwani, vice president of P&G, Arabian Peninsula & Pakistan, told Arabian Business.

“The other is cardiac drugs. It’s all related to the kind of issues we face here [in the Gulf] - a high incidence of diabetes and a high incidence of cardiac problems. These are the kinds of things that could be needed here and maybe P&G could play a role with possible investment,” he added.

The UAE has the second highest rate of diabetes in the world with one in five people affected by the disease. Diabetes affects 246m people worldwide. This number is predicted to grow to 380m by 2025.

Al Rajwani said there was also a market for preventative drugs. “Today we are focused on the cure after you get the disease, but there are drugs needed to prevent,” he added.

He said he expected P&G’s full year results, which are due out in July, to be better than last year. In 2008 the company posted global net sales of $83.5bn and net profit of $12.1bn.

The company is aggressively investing in its businesses, despite the global recession. It is doing this by investing in its brands and spending more on marketing, Al Rajwani said.

P&G, maker of Ariel washing powder to Pringle potato crisps, has made no job cuts across its operations in the Gulf and Pakistan due to the global downturn.

It has hired around a dozen people in the last year, Al Rajwani said.

The company said it was making no direct cost saving measures in response to the downturn, but was looking at ways to recycle and cut back on packaging, water and electricity usage.

P&G’s global outgoing CEO A.G Lafley will step down in July and will be replaced by COO Bob McDonald.

It is thought McDonald will pursue an aggressive strategy of growing the business in emerging markets, such as India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Africa.

The size of P&G’s business in the Gulf and Pakistan is around $1.5bn.

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