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London — The efforts made by Algeria to attract foreign investors in its pharmaceutical industry are "yielding results," said Oxford Business Group (OBG) in a recent report.

"A drive to attract foreign investment in Algeria's pharmaceuticals industry, part of a wider bid to diversify the economy and become a major exporter of pharma products, looks to be yielding results," OBG noted.

The report underlined that as "the second-largest market on the (African) continent after South Africa, with annual sales of $3bn, hydrocarbons-rich Algeria is a particularly attractive to international drugs companies."

According to OBG, and based on UN, "one of the biggest contributors to the rising sales is 39.5m-person Algeria's changing demographics and the Algeria has also witnessed a shift from infectious diseases to non-communicable or lifestyle-related conditions, such as diabetes, which require more complex and costly treatments," due to the changing lifestyle.

It also underscored that the pharmaceutical consumption is further boosted by Algeria's public health system, which offers near-universal coverage free at the point of delivery," highlighting that Algerians also have direct access to medications, thanks to the personalised CHIFA smartcard, introduced in 2007, which enables third-party payment from the social security system to a network of more than 10,000 participating pharmacies."

OBG report cites the Euro-Mediterranean think tank Mediterranean World Economic Foresight Institute as saying that the "out-of-pocket payments account for just 20.9% of total health spending in Algeria.

Moreover, the report said that the "government regulations prohibiting the import of drugs that are already being produced locally," first issued in 2008 and expanded in 2012, are "an important role in driving growth."

Mentioning theNational Statistics Office, OBG said that imports of pharmaceutical products fell by 24.7% to $1.37bn in the first nine months of 2015.

The British body reported that the prices of imported drugs are also down, according to the Ministry of Health, Population and Hospital Reform, following negotiations with drug companies and a new methodology for pricing has been adopted, which is based on international benchmarking and aimed at getting the best deals in Algeria.

Meanwhile, "local production has risen significantly, increasing by 41% last year, according to MSPRH data, cited by OBG.

The number of pharmaceutical factories and production units operating in the country has reached 132, with another 230 projects being developed.

Around 30 major drug manufacturers already operate in the local market, according to health IT firm IMS Health, including France's Sanofi Aventis, the UK giant GlaxoSmithKline, Hikma Pharmaceuticals of Jordan and Denmark's Novo Nordisk.

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Tag(s) : #Economy

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