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Import bill for medicines expected to decrease by 800 million euros in 2021

The provisional program for the import of medicines prepared by the Ministry of Pharmaceutical Industry for 2021 will allow to reduce the import bill by 40 percent compared to 2019 which equals to an estimated amount of 800 million euros, according to the Director of Pharmaceutical Activities and Regulation at the Ministry of Pharmaceutical Industry, Dr. Bachir Alouache.

According to Dr. Alouache, this achievement was made thanks to an “exclusive” effort initiated by the ministry since its creation in 2020 and will allow to reduce the import bill for medicines by 800 million euros in 2021.

It has become possible to achieve this “significant” saving, estimated at 40 percent, by balancing the national needs for medicines and the existing stock, says Mr. Alouache, who considers that this success falls within the objectives of regulating the pharmaceutical market in Algeria based on three axes: ensuring the availability of medicines, developing local pharmaceutical industry and reducing the import bill of medicines.

Regarding the calculation of savings in hard currency for 2021 in the field of medicines import, Mr. Alouache affirmed that pharmaceutical materials were divided into two parts, the materials to be imported and the “mixed” materials, part of which is produced locally, and the other part is imported.

This decrease was achieved thanks to the tight management of warehouses, the development of national production, the limitation of the import of unnecessary pharmaceutical materials and the prohibition of the import of locally produced materials.

Meanwhile, the National Agency for Pharmaceutical Materials, through various committees installed at its level (the multi-sectoral economic committee), should give priority to all files “that provide a therapeutic and especially economic benefit”, that means, when several source materials are proposed on the market, the choice is made for those with the cheapest price maximum effectiveness.

Mr. Alouache stressed that the decision to suspend the import of any medicine was not fortuitous, highlighting that when two or three local factories are committed to meeting the national demand for medicine, the Ministry suspends the import of this medicine because the import came to supplement the necessary quantities to meet the needs of the local market.

He revealed, in this regard, that the ministry’s services realized that in some materials, “additional sufficient stocks were made to cover consumption for a year or more,” which pushed them to suggest suspending the import of these materials until it becomes necessary to renew these stocks.

Meanwhile, the National Observatory to monitor the abundance of pharmaceutical products, with the involvement of the Committee of Clinical Experts, is in the process of preparing a list of exported medicines and local reimbursable products, as the Minister of Pharmaceutical Industry ensures their abundance, which will allow directing the seekers of the medicines that will be presented on the market during the year 2021.

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