Moving towards export 3/3

By Dr. Mohamed Sobhi

Third Article: Moving towards export

Since many years and the state has been launching projects and initiatives related to the medical & health sector in Egypt, including but not limited to the likes of the “comprehensive health insurance” for instance, and the following integration and application of the project on five governorates in its first phase, in addition to the “Dignified Life” initiative which includes the establishment of various health units, medical centers and hospitals in the Egyptian countryside  to provide the highest standards of medical service to more than fifty eight million Egyptians, also the “100 million’s health’ project, and as a continuation of these initiatives and projects, the state is currently completing another critical aspect of the project, which is the industrial aspect and one of the dazzling and promising examples is the “Medicine City” project, of which has been discussed in detail previously, and as we mentioned that it is projected to export thirty percent of the city’s production upon completion.

Then what is the trade volume of the medicine industry both internally and externally?

 The total trade volume of the internal market of medicine in Egypt is about hundred and twenty five billion pounds, of which ninety billions are through the private sector and thirty five billions are through government tenders.

As for the export, its volume does not exceed two hundred and fifty million dollars per year, of which is undoubtedly not proportionate with the pharmaceutical industry in Egypt, and for many reasons, including:

  • Discouraging pricing policies as the local pricing policy is the referential for the export price.
  • The constant increase in the domestic demand for many essential drugs, and therefore constraining some of the export opportunities, especially for the essential drugs.

Once again reiterating that the decision to establish the city of medicine is a great boost to the Egyptian drug market, not only to narrow the shortage gap in the list of essential drugs for the local market, but also to penetrate & unlock a wider field for exporting the city’s production upon fulfilling the domestic demand needs.

The value of the global pharmaceutical industry in the year 2020 reached 1.43 trillion dollars, of which about 150 billion dollars are spent on research and development in order to keep pace with the increasing global demand for medicine

A quick look at the top ten drug manufacturers in the world, one could find that some of these companies have budgets nearly the size of some countries’ budgets and with gigantic annual business numbers.

And here is a list of the top ten drug manufacturers in term of their sales in 2020:

  Listed Companies Country of Origin Total Revenue (USD Billions)
1 F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG Swiss 53
2 Pfizer Inc. USA 49.7
3 Johnson & Johnson USA 42.2
4 Merck & Co. USA 41.8
5 Novartis International AG Swiss 37.7
6 AbbVie USA 33.3
7 The Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. Japan 31.3
8 Bristol Myers Squibb USA 26.1
9 Sanofi S.A. France 25.7
10 Amgen Inc. USA 23.4


The volume of global pharmaceutical exports in 2018 amounted to about $371 billion, and these exports increase annually by an average of 5.8%.

Europe accounts for about 79.7% of the value of these exports globally, followed by Asia with about 10.7%, while North America contributes about 8.1% of the value of these exports, and the exports of the rest of the world of medicine represent only small percentages such as:

  • Latin America 0.7%
  • Australia 0.5%
  • Africa 0.2%

    Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of drugs and medicines during 2018:

 Listed CountriesTotal Exports Value (USD Billions)In %
5United States225.9%
8United Kingdom19.75.3%


Egypt is ranked the 50th in the list of the countries with exporting volume of 250 million dollars which is far below the ambitions of many of the drug industry’s pioneers and those of Egyptian statesmen and those associated to that sector. Hence, a strong focus should be placed on the development of the size of this sector and its exports, especially with the praised endorsement of consumers and importers of Egyptian medicine in the external markets in terms of quality and effectiveness.

A great effort to open new markets, develop the current markets of Egyptian medicine and review some policies that may limit the launch of export figures to the level decent of the Egyptian pharmaceutical industry is accordingly in order

There is no doubt that the presence of giant projects such as the city of medicine pushes towards the aforementioned and we are still waiting to start and expand the manufacturing of pharmaceutical materials in the city of medicine to boost the probabilities of Egyptian medicine in competition internally and externally.

We are confident that we will soon see a marked surge in Egyptian drug exports as well as unprecedented successes in ensuring Egyptian drug security and the availability of essential medicines for Egyptian citizens.

Finally, a special tribute to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and to the Egyptian statesmen for presenting this gigantic and leading project

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