Egypt Outpacing Middle East and Africa’s Top Markets

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Four years after Egypt enacted a new universal health law, the country’s pharmaceutical market has consolidated itself as the fastest growing in the Middle East and Africa, far outpacing Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the UAE and Algeria. With USD 6.3 billion in value, Egyptian pharma is about to double its size from 2017. 

The Egyptian pharmaceutical market – second largest in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region – accelerated its expansion last year and could soon double its 2017 size, according to data made public by IQVIA. The market reached USD 6.3 billion in value in September of 2021, far outpacing MEA’s top markets with a 16.1 percent yearly growth.

Behind only Saudi Arabia (USD 8.5 billion) within MEA, Egypt’s pharma market has consolidated its position as the prime destination outside of the Gulf. If the trend continues, this year the Egyptian pharma market will more than double its size from 2017 when it reached USD 3.3 billion in value.

Egypt has a strong manufacturing industry and is the largest producer of pharmaceuticals in the MENA region. About nine in ten drugs consumed in the country are produced locally, according to Pharmaconex.

According to IQVIA, local companies account for 56 percent of the market in terms of sales, leaving multinationals with 44 percent of the pie. In fact, two of the top 10 fastest growing companies in MEA are Egyptian: Eva Pharma and Sedico/Acdima. In addition, systemic antibacterial remains the top therapeutic area in Egypt (9 percent share) while anticoagulants became the fastest growing.

The development of the market is hardly surprising considering the years-in-the-making transformation of healthcare in the country. Egypt launched its Universal Healthcare Act in 2018, aiming to provide health coverage to all 100+ million inhabitants, as well as various national campaigns aimed at eradicating diseases such as Hepatitis C.

An initiative that reflects the government’s view of pharma as a key industry is the recent creation of Gypto Pharma, also known as Medicine City in 2021. The project is one of the largest of its kind in the region and was conceived as a specialized hub for manufacturing various medicines and vaccines.

“We started thinking about this project almost seven years ago… It took a lot of time to create the most efficient factories using scientific methods so that the medicines produced in the city follow the European standards or the World Health Organization (WHO) standards,” president El-Sisi said during the inauguration in 2021.


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