Israel’s central government is set to allow some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies to open their doors for business, as part of a concerted push to boost Israel’s exports of vital pharmaceuticals.
In a statement on Tuesday, the ministry of health said it would allow Israeli firms to export products to countries in the EU, the US, Australia and the Middle East.
The move follows a spate of major drug deals in recent months by the countries that make up the European Union, including the UK, France, Italy and Germany.
Israel is also expected to become the world leader in developing a new type of medicine, which would allow it to compete with Western rivals for pharmaceutical products, including India and China.
The new drug could be sold in Israel as early as next year, but the announcement came as the central government was preparing to open more than 1,000 new pharmacies, including some for the elderly.
The announcement comes as the government seeks to boost the economy and attract new foreign investment in a bid to create more jobs.
Israel, the biggest exporter of pharmaceutical products to the EU and the US in recent years, is also a major consumer of pharmaceuticals in Europe.
It is currently one of the few countries that does not have an EU-wide market for medicines.
The opening of some of Israel’s biggest pharmacy outlets follows a flurry of major deals in the past month by the European companies, including Britain’s AstraZeneca and German drugmaker Astra Zeneca.
In March, Astra acquired Israel’s largest private pharmacy chain in Israel, which has more than 600 pharmacies in the country.
In November, Astor Pharma acquired Israel-based manufacturer Eli Lilly and said it planned to open 200 more pharmacies.
The deal is expected to add $500 million to the country’s coffers in the next five years.
“We have an enormous population and a tremendous population is the one that is most vulnerable to the impact of drug shortages,” said Moti Milrod, head of the Israeli pharmacy industry association.
“So, there’s going to be a lot of opportunities to increase our exports of essential medicines and pharmaceutical products.”
This will boost our economy, increase our export revenue, and make it more attractive to foreign investors to invest in our industry.
“In addition to Astra, the Israeli government has also opened dozens of new pharmacies to be opened in countries in Europe, including Germany, Spain, Belgium and Austria.
Israel’s move comes after the government last year closed dozens of private pharmacies and opened some public ones, including pharmacies for the disabled.
It also comes as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to open the countrys biggest private pharmacy in Israel in response to growing demand for medications and medical equipment from Israel’s elderly population.
According to the Israel National Pharmaceutical Corporation, about 4.4 million Israelis aged 65 and older live in the capital Tel Aviv alone, and about half of them are living in Tel Aviv.
The Tel Aviv-based pharmaceutical company said the number of patients needing medications and related equipment has grown by 10 percent in the last two years, with a significant increase in prescriptions.
The Israeli government aims for its population to be over 70 percent by 2020.