Moving towards a North african pharmaceutical market

Jeudi 18 Juin 2015 - Mohamed W Zerhouni and Asma El Alami El Fellousse


In North Africa, the pharmaceutical sector is evolving. Even though organization and development vary from one country to another, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia managed, in just a few years, to develop a pharmaceutical industry that allows them today to cover a large part of the local consumption. However, it is in Morocco that one can see the most significant results in terms of national cover and exportation. Today, the pharmaceutical industry, independent from the state, allows to ensure the cover of 65% of the national market needs (against 49% in Tunisia and 30% in Algeria) and exports towards African, Middle-Eastern and European countries.

Moroccan and Tunisian pharmaceutical industries respect international standards. They are now registered in the European zone for their quality standards. As for Algeria, it mainly applies the ISO standards but not international pharmaceutical norms.

Besides, the three North African countries gave the pharmaceutical market a specific legislation as well as important regulatory basis. They all have procedures in terms of registration, distribution and control of these highly sensitive products. They also have a system of centralized medicine purchase ensured by different institutions (Ministry of Health, Central Pharmacy, etc.).

What is more, North African countries encourage the local production of generic medicines in order to reduce healthcare costs and give people easier access to medicines. However, in spite of the different measures carried out to favour their fabrication (setting of prices, exemption from VAT, reduction of custom duties), the development of generic medicines remains limited for several reasons (absence of right of substitution, prescription and patients trust issues, multiplicity of fabrication units, dependence for raw material supply, etc.).

Another issue that can be pointed out concerns the absence of research and technological innovation activities, especially in Algeria. Morocco and Tunisia have implemented legal and financial measures to promote research and development.

In order to develop a better integration of the pharmaceutical market and of the production industry at the North African scale, one can take a look to some examples of integration regarding:
     - common purchase of medicines and vaccines: an experience that dates back to the 1980’s and that is the result of cooperation efforts between the member states of the Arab Maghreb Union (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia);
     - standardization of registration and marketing authorization (MA) procedures and their mutual recognition by North African countries, following the model adopted by the countries of the European Union (EU) and that of the member states of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA);
     - Cooperation in terms of medicines production to face the consequences of the development of new non-communicable diseases, improve medicines supply in the region and reinforce its accessibility by the population.

Finally, based on the pharmaceutical monographs of the three countries as well as the obstacles and assets linked to the integration of the three markets, recommendations are provided in order to encourage the pharmaceutical sector in the region. It is mainly about:
     - implementing, at the regional level, supranational professional organisms capable of ensuring a standardization of the regulation joint purchase procedure for medicines, vaccines and serums; of controlling the good quality of local productions; of drawing up a development plan for basic infrastructures for the industrialization of medicines;
     - implementing a permanent secretariat in order to ensure a regional coordination for medicines joint purchases and a better development of the pharmaceutical industry;
     - reinforcing the link between the different North African pharmacy universities, orders of pharmacists, learned societies and all the professionals of the pharmaceutical sector;
     - standardizing the regulatory framework of medicines registration and control and implementing a network of quality control laboratories;
     - developing North African cooperation in terms of medicines production (especially of generic ones);
     - starting the regional integration with the production of vaccines, oncology products, serums and medicines derived from biotechnology;
     - implementing an independent association of medicines manufacturers so that the pharmaceutical industry can benefit from a scientific, commercial and industrial exchange space in North Africa;
     - organizing workshops, meetings and conferences on standardization procedures of medicines registration and control.

Ce rapport existe aussi en version FR

Table of contents

  • The IPEMED “ health in the Mediterranean approach”
  • Foreword – Towards what medicines policy for North Africa?
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • The pharmaceutical market in North Africa
  • >> The pharmaceutical market in Algeria
  • >>> Organization of the pharmaceutical market
  • >>> Medicines demand and its characteristics
  • >>> Medicines offer
  • >>> Research and innovation
  • >> The pharmaceutical market in Morocco
  • >>> Organization of the pharmaceutical market
  • >>> Medicines demand and its characteristics
  • >>> Medicines offer
  • >>> Research and innovation
  • >> The pharmaceutical market in Tunisia
  • >>> Organization of the pharmaceutical market
  • >>> Medicines demand and its characteristics
  • >>> Medicines offer
  • >>> Research and innovation
  • For a better North African integration of the pharmaceutical market and of a pharmaceutical production industry
  • >> Complementarities between pharmaceutical markets in North Africa
  • >> Obstacles and assets linked to the integration through the market and through production
  • >> Recommendations and solutions allowing a better integration of the North African pharmaceutical market
  • Conclusions
  • Bibliography
  • Appendixes
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