Pharmaceutical industry: a future success story?

A sector with high potential both on the national and international market, the pharmaceutical industry is gaining more and more weight in the Moroccan economy, in particular with the launch of the ambitious health reform project and the desire to promote the “made in Morocco” in terms of vaccines and medicines. Overview of the rise of this sector.

This industry, which now represents a major source of medical innovation, is a crucial driver of the national economy, thanks to the high added value it produces, the creation of highly qualified jobs and investments in research and development. that drive business performance, while providing increasingly effective treatments that improve hope and quality of life.

This sector, which is expanding rapidly in the Kingdom, is mainly driven by changes in the regulatory framework, public-private partnerships and foreign direct investment (FDI).

Furthermore, the characteristics of pharmaceutical employment make it less susceptible to economic crises such as the one that occurred following the repercussions of Covid-19, during which total employment decreased, while the pharmaceutical industry seems to be able to maintain, even strengthen its momentum to stem the pandemic.

The economic shock caused by the pandemic, it must be said, has shone the spotlight on a public health emergency with a close relationship between industrial practices, the level of health of society and its economic development.

Moreover, it is in this sense that the president of the Moroccan Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry and Innovation (FMIIP), Mohamed El Bouhmadi, indicated that this sector is one of the most dynamic in the world. Moroccan economy and is now preparing to play a major role in the projects launched recently by King Mohammed VI.

At the level of the industrial fabric, “this is a key sector which represents more than 5.2% of industrial GDP, but not only: it is also the second chemical activity after phosphates“, he explained.

And to continue that the pharmaceutical industry, with its 60 years of expertise, has succeeded in achieving drug quality that meets international standards. It also contributes to the development of research in the country, through clinical trials, bio-equivalence, galenic developments, etc.

According to El Bouhmadi, the FMIIP foresees a period of continuous growth supported by exports and dividends from R&D of up to 80 billion dirhams (MMDH) by 2035.

That said, the biotechnological revolution has transformed the structure of this industry in perpetual development, and Morocco aims beyond the objective of meeting the needs of the population and achieving the independence of the national health system, to take part in the international technological advances.

Encouraged by the momentum generated by the new development model (NMD), the overhaul of the national health system and the reform of social safety nets, the pharmaceutical industry has, according to El Bouhmadi, who reports a turnover more than 16 billion dirhams in 2021, of the critical size to support the momentum initiated to strengthen health sovereignty.

The success of this reform, which was the subject of the fourth edition of Pharma Day, remains dependent on the strengthening of national medical capacities, he said, indicating that the country now aspires to a significant and lasting reduction disparities for better social cohesion, which requires guaranteeing fair access for all citizens to quality health care.

A strengthening of the pharmaceutical export activity is essential! The persistence, albeit to a lesser extent, of the need for elements of protection against the pandemic and preparation for possible future pandemics have led to an increased attractiveness of the sector. In this equation, the relevance of the pharmaceutical industry for Moroccan foreign trade is obvious.

A true pillar of national health sovereignty, this industry remains strongly connected to the global value chain via the multinationals established in the country. Added to this is the privileged geographical position enjoyed by Morocco, which allows fluid access to African markets.

In order to consolidate the country’s export capacity in this field, the FMIIP has developed a platform of key initiatives for the strengthening of local manufacturing, in particular through support for the export of local industry, noted the President of the Federation, recalling that “local manufacturers, grouped within the FMIIP, alone represent 80% of Moroccan drug exports”.

“Thus, by capitalizing on these achievements, we could reach 35% of the export rate by 2026 by consolidating the existing markets in Africa and the Middle East, and aiming for up to 45% of the export rate. export by 2035, through an opening to Europe and the United States”he pointed out.

Towards localization of pharmaceutical manufacturing In the face of disrupted international supply chains, facilitating access to needed medicines and reducing exposure to imports is inevitable. Fortunately, actors in the sector in Morocco seem increasingly aware that the local manufacture of pharmaceutical products plays an essential role in maintaining the resilience of national health systems.

With this in mind, the president of the FMIIP underlines that the development of R&D is at the heart of the ambition of local manufacturers, who aim to increase spending in the sector to reach 8 billion dirhams by 2035, estimating that at By 2035, the Moroccan pharmaceutical industry should triple its workforce to reach 150,000 direct and indirect jobs and double the number of Industrial Pharmaceutical Establishments (EPI) installed in Morocco to reach 110 establishments.

Due to the high costs and the long process of introducing a new drug to the market, this industry involves large capital investment budgets. Hence the need for the involvement of the university, public and private sectors, and for attractiveness in terms of FDI.

Bouhmadi, indicates in this regard, that with the generalization of social protection, the arrival of new players on the market and the expected launch of Sensyo Pharmatech, the size of the national pharmaceutical market could reach up to 50 billion dirhams. 2026.

It is certainly a buoyant economic sector. However, drugs are not just any commodity, but a necessary element for the maintenance of public health.

And therein lies the dilemma for governments. Will the enthusiasm of investors for the pharmaceutical industry be accompanied by the establishment of supervisory bodies to grant or refuse authorization to pharmaceutical companies to market their products?

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