Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/11/2014 -- This quarter has seen a number of developments that indicate an increasingly difficult operating environment for local and foreign drugmakers in Egypt. These include suspension of some local drug production, ongoing strikes by doctors and calls for improvements to the registration and pricing regime for pharmaceuticals. Despite its favourable demographic and epidemiological profile, the Egyptian pharmaceutical market has a relatively weak outlook for growth, as economic factors, political uncertainty and lack of regulatory reform obstruct approval and uptake of medicines.
Headline Expenditure Projections
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- Pharmaceuticals: EGP14.34bn (US$2.09bn) in 2013 to EGP16.02bn (US$2.28bn) in 2014; +11.7% in local currency terms and 9.2% in US dollar terms. Forecast broadly in line with the previous quarter.
- Healthcare: EGP84.61bn (US$12.31bn) in 2013 to EGP94.73bn (US$13.48bn) in 2014; +12.0% in local currency terms and 9.5% in US dollar terms. Forecast broadly in line with the previous quarter.
In Q214, Egypt receives a lower Pharmaceutical Risk/Reward Rating (RRR) score of 43.1 out of 100, making it the 12th most attractive pharmaceutical market in the Middle East and Africa region. While its demographic and epidemiological factors are seen as favourable, the country's operating environment continues to be challenging, both from an industry and country point of view.
Key Trends And Developments
Since the beginning of 2014, Egypt's Doctors' Syndicate, a local medical trade union, has ramped up strike action, demanding legislation to improve working conditions and introduce healthcare sector reforms. The doctors' main demands are reforms to the healthcare system by the passing of the draft Staff Law, which they have been pushing for since 2012. The draft law organises financial and administrative affairs, such as training, promotions and working hours for all medical professionals in the public healthcare sector. On February 6, Interim President Adly Mansour ratified the Law for Organising Affairs of Medical Professionals. However, this was rejected by the syndicate, with the organisation standing by the draft Staff Law.
The production of approximately 700 medicines was suspended in the country according to Awad Gabr, chairman of the Export Council of Medical Industries. Gabr added that around 30% of drug prices in Egypt must change so that local drugmakers continue to produce them. Of the 126 medicine factories operating in the country, 80 have incurred losses due to the government's refusal to increase the prices of drugs, while construction of 60 other factories has been suspended.
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