Setting the prices of medicine in Egypt should be more flexible to absorb currency fluctuation shocks, the director of French medicine company Sanofi Alexis Moyrand said in a press conference on Tuesday.
Moyrand, in Ahram Hebdo’s economic conference titled “French Investments in Egypt: Opportunities and Challenges,” said the medicine prices are set by Egypt’s health ministry and can’t be changed without its permission.
A dollar crunch in Egypt in recent months has made it difficult to import both medicines and raw materials used in pharmaceutical manufacture.
This hard currency shortage, coupled with the distributors’ rationing of the medicines in anticipation of price increases, have made a long-list of medicines hard to find in the market.
The central bank floated the local currency in early November, which made the pound’s original value of EGP 8.88 to the greenback more than double.
Medicine manufacturers have complained that the medicine prices need to rise in light of the rise in the dollar, so that they won’t make losses following the pound float.
Another challenge facing Sanofi is that the time taken to register new medicines in Egypt -- an average of three years -- is very long compared to other companies.
Sanofi has been operating in the Egyptian market for over 55 years since 1961, with an estimate of 1200 medicines.
The economic conference hosted by Egypt's weekly French newspaper Ahram Hebdo was held in partnership with the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the French embassy in Cairo.