Morocco – Boosting Pharma Exports

January 22, 2013 2:12 pm0 commentsViews: 196

220120131454An agreement between the government and the Moroccan Pharmaceutical industry has been signed in Nov. 2012 during the 3rd National Pharma Industry congress. The aim is to expand their export markets abroad and to increase the consumption of generics.

France, absorbs more than half of Moroccan exports.

The third edition of this congress, in late November, has been marked by a major event: the signing of a contract program involving the government and the pharmaceutical industry for the next 10 years. The objective of this program is to push the domestic pharmaceutical industry position on foreign markets.

This international development of the sector can only be achieved through three main areas that have been identified by a strategic review by a large Consulting firm on behalf of the Moroccan Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry (Amip):

- The generic drug development
- Attracting foreign investors
- Export growth

Five committees composed of government representatives and operators, currently working on the synthesis of the findings of the study will form the basis of the contract program.

Waiting to know the contents of the contract program and especially its goals by 2022, we note from the study that the moroccan pharmaceutical industry has serious advantages: First, the regulatory framework, including free trade agreements with United States and the European Union, which could ease the international expansion, and second, the development level of the industrial sector in Morocco. According to the Ministry of Industry, Pharma manufacturers annually invest MAD 300 millions in upgrading or extending their plants. Manufacturers indicate that most of the investment is the production of generic medicines for export but also for the local market and its expansion is planned in the strategy of the Ministry of Industry.

The Moroccan Pharma Sector ranks second level after chemical phosphates and has 32 manufacturers (subsidiaries of multinational companies, local companies producing under-licence and companies having their own range of generics) to produce according to US or EU quality standards.

Many opportunities in Egypt and Turkey

In 2011, the Moroccan pharmaceutical industry has achieved a production of 293 million units to cover 75% of local needs medication for a total turnover of 8.3 billion dirhams. Imports during the same period, covered 25% of the domestic demand.

Operators noted that the private market the drug in 2011 was marked by low growth of generics of 3% against 10-15% in previous years. “It is quite understandable because of the AMO effect (Obligatory Health Insurance), moreover, there is still no real incentives for generic consumption,” says one manager of the Industry. Adding that “on the public market with the generalization of RAMED (Medical Assistance System) we saw an evolution of tenders which rose from 1.2 billion to 1.8 billion dirhams in 2011.”

Morocco has exported in 2011, 66% of 431 million dirhams, or 285 million, to the French market. Operators believe that reliance on a single market represents a risk for the sector and that it is imperative, with the contract program to move onto other opportunities.

For example, Egypt, which currently consumes only 3% of exports, and Turkey are good export opportunities as their need for drugs is five times greater than those of the domestic market.

However, even with the existence of a free trade agreement with these countries, their markets are inaccessible due to the complexity of drug registration procedures. According to professionals, the contract program should help to overcome this limitation as it provides regulatory and fiscal measures facilitating international positioning.

The contract program should also contribute to the development of local demand for medicines currently stands at 320 DH per capita per year against an average of 6000 DH in other countries.

[by Aziza Belouas -]

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