On regional standardisation and leveraging the industry to embrace digitalisation
How would you assess Algeria’s pharmaceuticals industry?
HAISSAM CHRAITEH: The country has launched an ambitious strategy to develop domestic pharmaceuticals production. Both local companies and international players are already present in the country, producing pharmaceuticals to meet the rising demand being stimulated by Algeria’s fast-growing population.
The recent completion of the Sanofi Algeria industrial complex in Sidi Abdellah, the largest in Africa, is an example of this effort. Upon becoming fully operational, the new 6-acre facility is earmarked to manufacture more than 100m units per year, and employs the latest standards and production systems in order to maximise efficiency and ensure quality.
What is being done by the government to encourage investment in the health sector?
CHRAITEH: On an international level, Algeria stands as one of the countries that is most strongly committed to the improvement of health care services for all citizens. The country’s oncology and anti-cancer national plans, as well as its focus on the treatment of non-communicable diseases – such as diabetes and hypertension – underline this.
Despite the fall in international oil prices, investment in the health care sector has remained a priority for the country, with this commitment affirmed by the 2019 Finance Law. Overall, the country benefits from a well-structured and organised health care system that has country-wide infrastructure and well-trained human resources in all segments, a situation that is relatively unique in Africa. Furthermore, investment in new health care equipment has also been undertaken, and Algeria’s proximity to Europe has enabled access to the latest technologies. Therefore, this commitment to health care provision provides a broad range of projects to which global pharmaceutical companies can contribute their capacities, ranging from factories and research centres, to training facilities and prevention campaigns.
How can international companies contribute to the development of the sector?
CHRAITEH: Global companies active in distinct segments of the sector can provide a comprehensive vision of the challenges that lay ahead. International expertise can, for instance, help advance the implementation of the health economy and the adequate evaluation of the risks and costs of treatment in order to focus on prevention.
Algerian authorities are building up a global ecosystem that takes into account all the dimensions related to the sector, including the production of pharmaceuticals, prevention, training, research and clinical studies. This strategy incentivises international partners to expand their operations in the country.
What potential does Algeria have to become a regional centre in pharmaceuticals production?
CHRAITEH: The country’s pharmaceuticals industry is already well developed and competitive, so the next step is to deploy these international standards throughout other countries in Africa. The Algerian experience can serve as a point of reference for standardising regulations across the region. Enabling Algeria to spread its standards and regulations would help bolster exports to other countries in the region.
Furthermore, the standardisation of data from clinical studies would have a similar beneficial impact for the country. Domestic and international players both have a role to play in supporting this strategy. For example, in April 2018 Sanofi Algeria launched an Academy of Clinical research in partnership with the Ministry of Health. In the long term, as digitalisation and e-medicine reshape the global sector, Algeria can count on the sector being developed enough to incorporate these new technologies. The country is set to become a leader in preventative medicine based on the collection and analysis of data from every patient.