Disparities in healthcare access still persist. Almost 15 years after Morocco’s major healthcare reforms aimed at reducing health inequalities across the country, access to healthcare services for low-income and rural portions of the population remains challenging . Reportedly les s than half of the population have healthcare coverage across the country, while this proportion falls to nearly one in three for thos e living in rural areas . These issues will continue to repress the plentiful opportunities for multinational pharmaceutical firms in Morocco given its population of almost 38mn. However, pharmaceutical expenditure lag s behind its regional peers , indicating a lack of market development.
Further healthcare reforms will boost demand for pharmaceuticals. In line with Morocco’s long -term s trateg y ‘Vis ion 20 20 ’ the g overnment aims to modernise and develop its healthcare system while increas ing healthcare coverag e to 90% of the population by 20 21. As the healthcare sector develops the demand for pharmaceutical products will increase, creating opportunities for multinational drug makers . Morocco is an attractive inves tment destination for a multitude of reasons , such as :
– Its locality provides access to both EU and African markets.
-It has an aging demographic.
-It is a member of free trade agreements (FTA) with the EU, US and UAE.
-FTA’s have led to high manufacturing standards and well-established patent law
Starting in 2018, there is a five-year corporate tax break for new industrial firms, including pharmaceutical manufacturers.
-Pharmaceutical expenditure is high compared to other countries in the Maghreb region.
-Drug approval times are short compared to other countries in the Maghreb region, taking just 12 months.
We forecast the Moroccan pharmaceutical market will grow from MAD 15.09 bn (USD1.6 2bn) in 20 17 to MAD29 .6 6 bn (USD2.8 8 bn) in 20 27, reflecting a 10 year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.0% and 5.9% in local currency and US dollar terms respectively. In Morocco, the government has outlined an emphasis on boosting domestic medicine manufacturing and thus opportunities will exist for drug makers through the establis hment of a direct manufacturing presence or through license agreements with local companies . It is noteworthy that although there is a considerable preference for generic drug s due to their lower value and hence ability to extend medicine coverage to a wider portion of the population, the country’s g rowing middle class will drive demand for innovative pharmaceuticals .
A number of multinationals operate local manufacturing plants and have selected Morocco as their North African headquarters . Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer all operate local manufacturing plants , which at present -are largely geared to meeting domestic demand. However, exports from Morocco are expected to rise over the next 5 years , driven by the country’s high manufacturing standards and the development of the domestic pharma industry.
Despite the opportunities created by the growing healthcare system in Morocco, it is noteworthy that downs ide ris ks s till pers is t. Morocco has a small population (38mn), is reliant on importing pharmaceutical raw materials for domestic production and has strict drug pricing controls .
In 20 18 , the Ministry of Health has reduced the price of 67 drug s for chronic diseases . Through its Free Trade Agreement with the US Morocco has a well-establis hed patent law, however, there is no specific regulation regarding preparing generics for launch prior to the patent expiration date, posing a downs ide to innovative pharmaceutical manufacturers .