The findings were outlined in a comprehensive 36-page study conducted by the Senate, Egypt's upper consultative house, focusing on the future strategy of the country’s pharmaceutical industry.
Proposed by Senator Mohi Hafez and crafted by the Senate's Health Committee, the study emphasizes the importance of strategic initiatives to bolster the pharmaceutical sector.
"The Egyptian drug industry is one of the most successful sectors, but it is still mainly focused on the local market and largely depends on traditional technology," said the study.
The Senate's Speaker Abdel-Wahab Abdel-Razek said that the study's recommendations will be presented to President El-Sisi for consideration and implementation of necessary executive measures.
Pharmaceutical industry urged to prioritize exports
According to the study, the pharmaceutical industry in Egypt is advised to change its strategy and prioritize foreign export markets in the coming years.
The study highlights that while Egyptian pharmaceutical exports currently reach 150 countries, the majority of these exports are targeted towards Arab and European Union markets.
By leveraging "new technologies, implementing innovative marketing strategies, and revising existing regulations, Egypt has the potential to significantly increase the value of pharmaceutical exports to a projected $5 billion by 2030".
It also pointed out that pharmaceutical exports grew nearly 40 percent between 2021 and 2022.
Furthermore, the study reveals that Egypt ranks fourth among African markets in terms of attracting pharmaceutical investments in 2022.
"Egypt has 170 licensed pharmaceutical factories, 152 of which are owned by the private sector, nine by the public sector and nine by multinationals," said the study, also indicating that "the Egyptian local pharmaceutical industry coves 92 percent of the local market needs."
Egyptian pharmaceutical companies among biggest in Africa
The study also reports that Egypt has the largest pharmaceutical exporting companies on the African continent.
"The exports of these 30 companies accounted for 87 percent of Egypt's total pharmaceutical exports in 2022," said the study.
"Drug sales on the local market are expected to reach EGP 142.5 billion in 2023, up from EGP 122.7 billion in 2022, and from EGP 9.3 billion in 2006," said the study, adding that Egypt's pharmaceutical market is growing by 13.8 percent a year, which is the highest in the Middle East.
"In UAE, the pharmaceutical market is growing by 10.9 percent, in Algeria by 8.2 percent, by 7.4 percent in Morocco, by 6.2 percent in Saudi Arabia and 13.8 percent in Egypt," said the study.
Commenting on the study, Tamer Essam, head of the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) said "Egypt's pharmaceutical market is one of the biggest in the Middle East region as its value exceeds EGP 170 billion a year."
Essam noted that "Egypt's 170 licensed pharmaceutical factories have 720 production lines which use modern technology and produce high-quality drugs and pharmaceuticals," said Essam.
Essam said EDA is moving fast to boost Egyptian pharmaceutical exports. "We have a giant pharmaceutical industry and we have huge export potential but we have to update our marketing strategies to increase exports, particularly to the African and European markets."
More government incentives needed
The study concludes by urging the government to give greater incentives to pharmaceutical investors to tap new fields like the production of hormones, vaccines, insulin, powder milk, tumor drugs and plasma.
"These companies should be also motivated to tap the field of pharmaceutical industries which depend on biotechnology – like biosimilars – as these are not highly costly and have a promising future," said the study
It recommended that the laws regulating the pharmaceutical industry and the intellectual property rights be updated to go in line with recent international developments.