Heated competition between local and foreign pharmaceutical companies on the Egyptian drug market recently resulted in several lawsuits being filed, according to an Al-Hayat report. It is claimed that multinational firms, such as Pfizer and Merk Sharp, are pressing local producers to open up the pharmaceutical sector before 2005.
Under the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) agreement, Egypt is obliged to fully adopt intellectual property rights for pharmaceuticals and biotechnology medicines, by January 1, 2005. The TRIPS is an annex to the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement, which Egypt joined in 1995, and it contains provisions on patents, copyrights and trademarks, as well as undisclosed information.
The Egyptian drug industry is the largest producer and consumer of pharmaceuticals in the Middle East and North Africa region. Valued at $1.28 billion in 1999, the Egyptian drug market has impressively grown over the past decade, with local consumption rising at an annual rate of 14 percent.
Thirty pharmaceutical manufacturers currently serve Egypt’s 68-million population, eight of which are public and the rest privately owned. Local production currently satisfies approximately 94 percent of the local market's demand. With local drug industry focusing on manufacturing rather than on research, 85 percent of the raw materials are imported from France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and the UK. ― (MENA Report)
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