CAIRO: The prices of 132 pharmaceutical drugs have been reduced by 10–60 percent, according to Minister of Health Hatem El-Gabaly.
El-Gabaly is also quoted by the MENA news agency as saying that sales in the pharmaceutical sector reached around LE 24 billion in 2010, while exports stood at LE 1 billion.
The health minister also stated that the number of factories producing pharmaceutical drugs has increased to 115 in less than five years, and that an agreement has been signed between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of State for Scientific Research to begin insulin production in Egypt.
Dina Iskander, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights’ (EIPR) health program, said, “The establishment of new pharmaceutical factories could be a good step from a human rights perspective if these [factories could eventually] make access to key innovative drugs — produced by using new technology — more available, affordable and accessible.”
“In that regard, it is vital that investments be made in the transfer of technology … research, and development, especially with regards to biologic drugs,” Iskander added.
The EIPR researcher also noted that three companies — Vacsera, SEDICO and the Nile Company — already manufacture insulin locally, and have been doing so since 2002.
Iskander questioned whether the insulin the government intends to produce will be “a biosimilar drug [like those already registered with the Ministry of Health], or a more advanced insulin [like those] produced by … the big pharmaceutical companies.”