NCPI ready for European exports

Dr Haysam AlKamal, Managing Director of NCPI, explains his vision for the company as it receives the World Finance award for Best Pharmaceutical Company of the Year


“It’s obvious that NCPI is on the right track, winning this distinction from World Finance for the second time,” says Dr AlKamal. “We have grown and developed in a very short time, and achieved a high quality standard that enables us to be registered in countries with very stringent conditions.”

NCPI – the National Company for Pharmaceutical Industry – is a private company established in 1989.

“‘National’ is our mindful thought,”  Dr AlKamal says. “We love Syria, we are loyal, and these sincere beliefs are embodied in naming our company ‘National.’ National furthermore means that we must acquire every knowledge and technology from outside, whenever required, and implement it as an essential basis for good manufacturing practice and quality assurance, thereby serving our nation through this sense as well.”

Syria’s pharmaceutical industry is relatively new, beginning with a handful of companies in 1990 and growing – as a direct result of government incentives for private sector investment – to include 63 companies in 2009. NCPI was one of the first private pharmaceutical companies in Syria, established by educated partners working in healthcare, pharmacists, doctors, and medical representatives.

In the last three years the company has developed and expanded tremendously, establishing several new production lines and renewing or enlarging some older lines. This growth sees NCPI ready to penetrate new markets and broaden its sales volume.

Fitness to practise
The company developed rapidly thanks to well formulated plans and stringent controlled rules. Each success helped the company develop consumer trust in the local market, and therefore acquire the confidence of the health authorities and medical bodies in Syria and abroad.

Through constant research and development of new and traditional pharmaceutical products the company is quickly developing an excellent reputation for competence and competitiveness in domestic and international markets.  

The plants and main offices of the company are located in Aleppo, the second largest province after Damascus. The site consists of five blocks, each hosting a separate production line: one for oral penicillin, one for oral cephalosporin, one for dry powder filling vial cephalosporin injection, one for generic, and one for anesthesia products such as halothane, isofluoran, and savoflourane.

According to good manufacturing practice (GMP) standard, each block is strictly separated to avoid cross contamination: workers’ clothes of each block are colour coded to prevent confusion, and the cafeteria, canteen, garment washing facilities and rest rooms are all confined and dedicated to their respective block.

Although NCPI produces a great variety of products (see boxout, overleaf), the ultimate goal for each is to develop a safe and effective pharmaceutical product and thereby provide people with a healthy life, free of pain and disease. This is only possible through continuous research and development of safe and effective pharmaceutical products, coupled with strict quality control.

Emotional Pharmacopoeia
The company’s GMP-compliant quality control system ensures its output meets the highest client standards. Of course the constant aim is zero-defect, and this quality target, coupled with international access to technology, helps NCPI save lives worldwide.

At the core of NCPI’s quality philosophy is the commitment to achieve a level of perfection that matches the highest international pharmacopoeia standards. “The final test for quality is a very simple question: ‘Would we use this product to treat our dearest ones?’” says Dr AlKamal. “If the answer is an unhesitant ‘yes,’ the product can pass. We call this ‘Emotional Pharmacopoeia.’”

Through many years of hard work, NCPI has gained an excellent reputation in Syria and around the world. Several European companies have retained NCPI as a licensed manufacturer, including Servier Laboratories (France), Ebewe and BASF group (Austria), and full technical collaboration from ACS Dobfar (Italy) regarding the Vials plant.

This reputation led NCPI to be certified in 1997 the ISO 9001:1994; in 2003 the ISO 9001:2000 and at the beginning of 2004 the ISO 14001 (based on environmental standards). In 2003 it was awarded a gold medal by the Foundation for Excellence in Business Practice for its commitment to sustainable and open business, based on criteria including credibility, efficiency, quality and modern management applications. And in 2007 the company was inspected by the German Health Authority and the World Health Organisation, meeting quality standards that allow it to export medicines to the EU.

NCPI’s scientific headquarters in Aleppo provides its 10 subsidiary offices – which span all of Syria – with brochures, promotional materials, and up to date scientific information to be delivered to local specialists and practitioners. The company also employs a strong distribution network through a dozen wholesale subsidiaries in Syria, while its export operation spans more than 12 countries, where NCPI has maintained a strong foothold since its inception.

“Our initial vision was to become the leading company in Syria, and our aspiration is to enrich our people – our driving force – to become highly competent professionals,” says Dr AlKamal. “Furthermore our responsibility to improve society – driven by our high ethical standards and belief in our practice – has culminated in our increasing the availability and affordability of different kind of drugs, which enable NCPI to cover a considerable range of the treatment spectrum.”

“In the area of HR, we continue hiring qualified workers and seniors, and implementing training programmes to develop employees’ knowledge, behaviour and awareness, so that we continue to reach the high level of GMP,” he says. “We have never slashed training budgets, as we believe that innovation, progress and development come from strong, well trained and capable workforces.”

As part of its corporate and social responsibilities, NCPI has sponsored many medical congresses and scientific workshops, as well as social and charity events. It also supports university research – it has allocated a budget for pharmaceutical research to the Arab International University to develop formulations in its Masters and PhD programmes – and finances training courses for postgraduate pharmacists, enabling intelligent recruitment and expansion of NCPI’s specialty departments.

The company is also mindful of its environmental responsibilities, and strives to reduce its impact by preventing smoke pollution, treating solid and liquid waste, and recycling liquid effluent for irrigation and other uses.

“Receiving this award is a moment to be proud of,” concludes Dr AlKamal, “but our vision extends more and more, and our ambition and mission will continue to grow.”

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