Explore policy-related opportunities for governments, health officials and companies operating in the MENA health sector.
Egypt has made vast improvements to its health system in recent years, including investment in a $530 million project that involved scaling up its Hepatitis C program and supporting the new Universal Health Insurance System. To continue this progress, Egypt should continue to make critical investments in its health system and reduce bureaucratic delays to attract foreign investment and improve the quality of health care.
Investing in Health
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are on the rise in Egypt, with nearly 84 percent of total mortality attributed to NCDs, especially cardiovascular diseases. Yet Egypt spends just 4.6 percent of its GDP on health, less than the average of its regional peers (5.5 percent). As a result, many citizens pay out-of-pocket for health care. In order to combat these challenges, Egypt will need to increase its total health expenditure.
Building the Health Care Workforce
Inequities in the availability and quality of care exist across Egypt’s health system. Currently Egypt has less than one (0.8) doctor for every 1,000 population, with many operating only in larger cities like Cairo. In order to rebalance the system and keep up with the increased demand for quality care, Egypt must work to attract, train and retain more medical professionals.
Attracting Innovation & Investment
Egypt is the second-largest destination country in the region for clinical trials and has steadily increased the number of trials it hosts. Between 2000 and 2017, Egypt attracted more than 2,000 clinical trials, well ahead of other countries in the MENA region. Egypt currently benefits from existing health care infrastructure, as well as regulatory and cost advantages, making it attractive to investors.
Speeding Quality Treatments to Market
In Egypt, pharmaceutical patents experience the longest pendency time (nearly 10 years in 2014) as compared to patents for other types of products (only 3.3 years) in that country. For example, one innovative cholesterol treatment did not become available in Egypt until 12 years after it was first approved for sale in other markets.
Providing Access to Innovation
While Egypt is increasingly engaging on intellectual property (IP) matters, concerns with respect to copyright and trademark enforcement, and pharmaceutical-related IP issues continue. Resolving these IP issues will attract greater innovation to Egypt.