Syrian Employing 600 Croatians Brings Pharmaceutical Excellence to Vukovar

Total Croatia News


Continuing our look at Croatian manufacturing excellence on October 10, 2017, as part of the 20 years of the ‘Let’s Buy Croatian’ campaign, the remarkable story of a Syrian entrepreneur who has built a network of pharmacies and a factory producing his own medicines, and is now distributing and exporting Croatian medicines with the help of 600 people he has employed. 

One thing I have learned about Croatia is that it is full of surprises, with amazing stories in the unlikeliest of places.

Who would have thought, for example, that one could find a Syrian entrepreneur, who has been dealing with Croatia for almost fifty years, lost his heart to Vukovar, and now employs over 600 people and has built a factory in Vukovar which is not only providing employment in this economically depressed region? While nationality is not ordinarily important in such stories, in these politically-charged times, it is perhaps poignant to dwell on the success of one Syrian, and the contribution he has made to Croatia’s economy and the wellbeing of hundreds of families through employment and many more through the excellent Croatian products his company Yasenka produces and which are distributed through his national (and international) network of pharmacies. 

A 2015 finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (see video above), Mohamed Radwan Joukhadar’s business empire began back in 1990 with the opening of his first pharmaceutical store in Vukovar, just before the war started. The company had just two employees. The first Joukhadar pharmacy opened in 1992, and the expansion since then has been complete, with his pharmacy company, Medical Intertrade d.o.o., now running 35 pharmacies all over Croatia, as well as representative offices internationally, employing some 585 people. 


Joukhadar’s dream was not only to distribute medicines, but to produce them as well, and the next stage of his impressive business expansion occurred in 2014 with the founding of the Yasenka factory in Vukovar. Named after his wife, Jasenka, an oral surgeon, Joukhadar’s aim was to attract markets far beyond Croatia’s borders. As he said at the opening

“The market for this factory has to be the entire world. Our aim is to sell these products from Vukovar not just to a few pharmacies in Croatia. We have to go beyond that. There are 25 million people in Syria alone and the recently devastated town of Aleppo in Syria has a population of five million. These regions will recover and we are counting on that market.”


The Yasenka factory for the production of medicinal products, food supplements and cosmetics was opened in Vukovar on 29th December 2014. When opened, it had 13 employees, and it currently employs 31 employees, 23 of whom have a university degree. A professional, creative and motivated team, open to the most demanding challenges of the profession through corporate social responsibility and ecological relationship towards the environment, makes the foundations of the company.


“My employees are my biggest capital,” says Joukhadar.

Yasenka offers the highest level technology for a range of products:
– production and packaging of raw products: syrups, solutions, tinctures and lotions
– production and packaging of semi-solid products: creams, ointments and gels
– packaging solid products into vials
– physical – chemical and microbiological analyses of raw material, process media, finished products and conditions in the production
– batch release of medicinal products.


With quality key, Yasenka prides itself on making products according to its own recipes, which are then manufactured in Vukovar, and its line of liquid products bears the sign “Croatian Quality“ which guarantees that the products are of above-average quality.

Yasenka’s  biggest success in 2016 was obtaining the certificate of Good Manufacturing Practice which placed it in the category of manufacturers of medicinal products and enabled us to achieve successful cooperation related to control and batch release of medicinal products imported from third countries to the EU market.


The company is constantly expanding its range of products, and there are currently 28 products on the market, manufactured in accordance with the European Standards of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), ISO standards and HACCP principles. Besides placing its own products, Yasenka enjoys successful cooperations in the field of contract manufacturing with partners who bring additional credibility and emphasise Yasenka’s quality.

With the implementation of cutting-edge technologies in the pharmaceutical industry, Yasenka ensures constant improvement of the quality of services and strengthening quality control. Education of that most important capital, employees, is constant in order to provide an immaculate final product or service. 


A wonderful and inspiring story of how one man’s vision and determination can motivate others and effect a wave of positivity in an economically depressed part of Croatia. Croatian business stories with foreign investors do not always provide the best success stories, and yet here is an excellent one, whose story is continuing to grow, and in the unlikeliest of combinations – a Syrian in Vukovar. 

To learn more about Yasenka and its products, click here.

To find your nearest Joukhadar pharmacy, click here





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