Workers at the Arwan Pharmaceutical Industries package drugs at the firm's factory in Jadra, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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With pharmaceutical consumption in Lebanon tipped to rise in the next few years, domestic drug producers are calling on the government to extend support to help a sector that faces significant international competition. A 2016 Business Monitor International report on the Lebanese pharmaceutical and health care industry stated that 3.22 percent of Lebanon GDP spending was likely to be on pharmaceuticals by 2020 – the "largest" in the MENA region.Although an increase in expenditure is theoretically good news for local pharmaceutical companies, Lebanon's manufacturers say foreign drug producers will be the ones to cash in on growing business.Such frustrations are expressed throughout the pharmaceutical industry in Lebanon, compounded by the fact that producers say their drugs meet or surpass international standards. Sili said the situation was more complex than Lebanese products simply being discriminated against, and that countries around the world place industry protections to create a balance of imported and domestic pharmaceuticals. While Sayegh expressed sympathy for the struggling pharmaceutical industry in Lebanon, he also noted that the Order of Physicians could not support the demands of the pharmaceutical industry that he said was creating a "careless market".
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