Three country managers with a recent experience of bringing new products from their company’s global portfolio into Egypt – and with big plans for more launches in coming years – outline how the product launch process has improved and why government stakeholders are more receptive than ever to industry innovations.
Reliance Pathways: A Game Changer?
AbbVie’s revenues soared by 35 percent in Egypt in 2021 – making it one of the fastest growing markets for the company globally – driven by both established products and a slew of new launches. The firm is currently in the process of launching three innovative products which GM Ali Sleiman feels is “an impressive commitment from AbbVie that also speaks to the level of positive change that has come from the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA).”
“The leadership team at EDA is forward-thinking and quick to adopt improved and accelerated pathways which will help to bring innovation into the country at an accelerated pace. Most notably, the recent adoption of Reliance Pathways has sped up market access for innovative products. A recent IQVIA report shows that Egypt has become the fourth fastest market in the MEA for registration, reimbursement, and launches. Looking back three or four years ago it was a different story.”
He adds, “the first product to come out of the Reliance Pathway was an AbbVie product, highlighting the great effort made by the Unified Procurement Authority (UPA) to accelerate access and bring innovative treatments to Egyptian patients as early as possible.”
Egypt does not have a reputation as an early adopter of innovation, but with Nilay Tarr at the helm, Astellas plans to launch three new products in Egypt over the next 18 months for the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia, anaemia in chronic kidney disease (CKD), and later on for bladder cancer.
“Astellas has a very specialized portfolio that addresses unmet needs in Egypt,” she explains, “For instance, one of our upcoming launches is a medicine for the treatment of anaemia in chronic kidney disease that is first in its class and has even won a Nobel Prize. It is the first oral hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) prolyl hydroxylase (PH) inhibitor to treat symptomatic anaemia in adult patients with CKD either on dialysis or not on dialysis and improves their quality of life.”
25 Launches in Three Years
AstraZeneca made global headlines by bringing its Oxford University-partnered COVID-19 vaccine to its home market of the UK in late 2020. However, as Egypt Country President Hatem Werdany points out, the Egyptian population has also been able to quickly benefit from AstraZeneca innovations.
“AstraZeneca has been heavily involved in Egypt’s fight against COVID-19, having brought our vaccine to the country in January 2021, just one month after it was first launched in the UK,” he proclaims. “We have also launched a prophylaxis against COVID-19 for immunocompromised patients to protect them from the virus.”
Looking forward, Werdany hopes to launch even more new products in Egypt. “The company’s pipeline is rich with new products,” he states. “Over the next three years, we anticipate the launch of as many as 25 new products and new indications.”
“We have a strong focus on biologics, with products coming online in respiratory disease such as severe asthma and COPD. Additionally, we are committed to bringing innovative medicines to patients with breast cancer, where the Egyptian government has been putting in considerable effort on raising awareness of prevention and treatment.”