Head of the Egyptian Council of Pharmaceuticals Exports (ECPE) Maged George said the pharmaceutical exports sector faces several challenges which need to be addressed, including the pricing system, registration procedures, and a lack of funds.
George added, during his participation in Al-Ahram Establishment Pharmaceutical Conference and Expo, held in Cairo over two days, that the Egyptian market involves 154 plants for pharmaceutical manufacturing, 125 plants for medical materials, and 120 plants for cosmetics, with a total of 399 plants in the sector.
He stressed that “This is a good infrastructure that reinforces Egypt’s pharmaceutical exports market."
On exports and imports in Africa, George revealed that pharmaceutical imports into the African market from outside the continent stood at $15.5 billion in 2019, while intra-African imports-exports in pharmaceuticals stood at $632 million.
George said ECPE targets for Egypt a 10 percent market share in Africa in line with the focus of the state on Africa in the current phase, adding that key players in the pharmaceutical exports market in Africa are Europe, the US, India and China.
He argued, “This is an appropriate time to increase Egypt’s exports to the continent."
George clarified that Egypt and South Africa are the only countries that export pharmaceuticals to Africa, with Egypt ranking 28th and South Africa 11th in total Africa imports in the sector.
Health ministry assistant Ahmed El-Sobki said that Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's initiatives in the healthcare sector reflects the attention the political leadership pays to that vital sector.
Chairman of Ibnsina Pharma Mohsen Mahgoub said that the new government focus on inclusive health coverage achieved remarkable results in its first phase in Port Said. He added that he was confident the scheme would be extended to offer quality healthcare services and medication to all patients.
Mahgoub said Egypt has the largest number of pharmacies in the world, with 70,000 pharmacies in total — one for every 4,000 citizens — compared to Saudi Arabia that has 8,500 pharmacies, and Germany with 22,000 pharmacies.
He added that this number necessitates a robust system of distribution to cover it, and hence meet the needs of patients.
Conference attendees called on the Egyptian government to reconsider pharmaceutical pricing, and the system of registration, to be more simple.
They also called on the banking system to play a role in providing funds and facilities for the sector, to enable companies to enter more markets around the world.