PharmaBoardroom’s new report, ‘Healthcare and Life Sciences Review Algeria,’ out today and available for free download, digs deep into this vibrant market, speaking to the actors driving change and growth in the sector today.
One area where Algeria has scored notable successes has been in developing a homegrown pharmaceutical manufacturing base, even if the government’s ambitious target of 70 percent local production still remains some way off. A cursory comparison with neighboring Morocco and Tunisia reveals the scale of this achievement. In contrast with other Maghreb markets that are dominated by foreign firms, 80 percent of Algeria’s medicine manufacturing capabilities are owned by Algerian nationals, with many having proved more than capable of holding their own against incoming foreign competition.
Boumediene Derkaoui, CEO of Saidal, Algeria’s state-owned pharmaceutical company, urges people “not to underestimate the feat of growing an industry like this from scratch in such a short space of time.” Saidal was created in the so-called ‘dark years’ of the 1990s, essentially to kick-start the government’s agenda of pharmaceutical import-substitution and even today, continues to cast its influence, signing production agreements with foreign multinationals at a rate of roughly five per year.
What may formerly have been considered a healthcare backwater today ranks as the second largest pharmaceuticals market on the continent, worth some USD 3 billion. Add to that a population of 38 million, a double-digit sectorial growth rate and a GDP per capita projection of USD 5,694, and the investment worthiness of Algeria’s healthcare and life sciences sector becomes starkly apparent.
“We are putting into action a coherent policy that will not only enable our pharmaceutical industry to meet the nation’s needs, but ultimately to conquer outside markets as well. Algeria will not remain an eternal importer. We have the means and the opportunities at our disposal to determine the industry’s future and will deploy them – Abdelmalek Boudiaf, Minister of Health of Algeria ”
At heart, Algerian pharma represents a frontier industry in which the adventurous will encounter their fair share of risk and reward. Pfizer, which enjoys the distinction of being the first multinational to take the plunge into local manufacturing, has first-hand experience of this. “We are talking about a market that is undoubtedly full of promise, but also one that is commonly regarded as one of the toughest to master,” explains country manager, Amina Hamoutene. As might be expected of what she terms a “still relatively immature” market, there are plenty of quirks and unusual features.
Algerian Health Minister Abdelmalek Boudiaf has been explicit in outlining his intent to “steer the system” to achieve positive social outcomes. “We are putting into action a coherent policy that will not only enable our pharmaceutical industry to meet the nation’s needs, but ultimately to conquer outside markets as well. Algeria will not remain an eternal importer. We have the means and the opportunities at our disposal to determine the industry’s future and will deploy them,” he declares.
“Our priorities, apart from sustained growth of the drug market, revolve around the sorts of political lines that characterize any sensible pharmaceuticals policy: enhanced availability of and access to medication and championing the development of a strong home-grown pharmaceutical industry,” concurs the ministry’s director general of pharmacy and medical equipment, Hamou Hafed.
Abdelmalek Boudiaf, Minister of Health of Algeria
Djaouad Brahim Bourkaib, director general of social security, Ministry of Labour & Social Security
M’hamed Ayad, director general, Pharmacie Centrale des Hopitaux (PCH)
Dr. Abelouahed Kerrar, president, National Union of Pharmaceutical Operators (UNOP)
Ralf Halbach, North & West Africa general manager, Roche
Peter Ulvskjold, Algeria general manager, Novo Nordisk
Pr. Bouslimane Mohamed Mansouri, director general, Laboratoire National de Controle des Produits Phamaceutiques (LNCPP, National Laboratory for Control of Pharmaceutical Products)
Pr. Kamal Kezzal, head manager, Pasteur Institute of Algeria
Mohamed El Hadi Benamar, general manager, Ferring
Hocine Mahdi, country manager, IMS Health Algeria
Dr. Hamou Hafed, director general of pharmacy and medical equipment, Ministry of Health