Ali Sedrati: “Morocco has everything to develop a vaccine against Covid-19”

The Industry Federation, which has signed an agreement with the authorities to establish a new vocational training institute specializing in occupations in the pharmaceutical industry, has great ambitions, in particular to support the work on universal health insurance.

You have just signed an agreement with the authorities to establish a vocational education institution for the pharmaceutical industry. Who were the supporters of this initiative?
At our request, this project was discussed with Arafat Atmun, Secretary General of the Vocational Training Division for almost ten months, and as a result, an agreement was signed with our Federation, Ministry of National Education, Ministry of Industry and President of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) Chakib Alj.

The Moroccan pharmaceutical sector is an advanced technology sector that has been developing in our country since the 1960s. Today it consists of 51 pharmaceutical institutions, national and international operators, and employs approximately 55,000 people directly or indirectly, at least 98% of whom are Moroccan citizens. This sector, which today is the legacy of Morocco, is powered by human resources from many scientific and other disciplines.

And this is in the quality standards of the most developed countries, such as the European Union (EU) or the USA. And the task of this new institution is to support us in our development. Moreover, it will enable our country to offer a learning platform for the needs of African countries, with which the royal will of South-South cooperation, concretized over decades, gives us all the necessary dynamics to ensure its success.

Many were surprised to discover at the beginning of Covid-19 that it is in Morocco itself that Sanofi produces chloroquine, which is used by the authorities to treat patients. How did such a prestigious laboratory believe the Moroccan pharmaceutical industry?
Let me first emphasize the strategic interest of drugs and the importance of national sovereignty for the well-being of our citizens. Indeed, it is thanks to the foresight of our authorities at higher levels, namely from the moment of gaining independence, that investments in local production have been encouraged and imposed.

And this is thanks to the trust of international groups that have invested locally and the dynamism of national operators who have also invested in innovation – the operators of our federation represent medicines from about 260 foreign companies out of 280 present in Morocco. than generics. And this is according to the official European standards – it is officially applied by our Ministry of Health.

And this is with quality guaranteed by our National Drug Control Laboratory of the Ministry of Health. Today, over 50% of our national consumption in value terms is produced locally. That is half of the current annual turnover, which is 16 billion dirhams, of which approximately 75% is provided by the operators of our federation.

In addition, 40% of this total consumption today comes from generic drugs, which save more than AED 3 billion per year compared to the originator drugs. Valuable citizen benefit and support system. And even more noticeable in the future with the generalization of social cover for 2022, which has just been adopted for our citizens.

Maryam Bigdeli, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Morocco, recently told Morok Ebdo that the kingdom has the scientific and industrial potential to one day develop a vaccine that could, for example, prevent a disease like Covid-19. Do you share his optimism?
Completely. You should know that our country already has all the technical infrastructure and human skills – medical, pharmaceutical, biological and others. And many research departments and institutions are universities, the National Center for Scientific and Technical Research (CNRST), the MAScIR Foundation. Several Moroccan experts are already involved in this study internationally and would often like to contribute to the development of their country.

Unfortunately, this type of development usually requires significant funding. And without support and assistance from the state, this is still difficult to implement today. But it should also be noted that our country has already demonstrated great dynamism by taking over the production of masks, diagnostic tests and respirators under development. What is to be applauded in this pandemic.

You have previously linked to a health insurance summary site; The Minister of National Education Said Amzazi, during the signing of the agreement on the new vocational education institution, emphasized the role that you could play in this regard. What exactly might this role be?
You should know that this drug is an important and complementary health care product. It currently accounts for about 25% of the medical “costs” covered by health insurance. On the other hand, its role in medical progress and life expectancy, which it has greatly contributed to, is widely proven throughout the world.

National sovereignty in the supply of quality medicines and controlled prices is an essential condition for any country. For all these reasons, our pharmaceutical industry has a strategic interest in supporting the expansion of health insurance. Our industry today provides both innovative medicines and generic medicines to improve access.

In addition to this, it contributes to the socio-economic development of the country – through employment, improved trade balance, local value added, stable tax revenues, training and research development.

From the end of February 2021, you form a federation belonging to the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), whereas before that you had the status of an independent association. Why such a choice?
Our association, the Moroccan Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry (AMIP), has been in existence since 1985 and supports the development of the sector – by both national and multinational members. And this with great dedication and perseverance from the various offices that were responsible for this. Over time, we realized that our voice is not very important – probably not because of age, but because the interlocutors did not listen.

In addition, we found it useful for our word to be conveyed to a larger institution, namely CGEM, whose mission is to support and accompany the development of all sectors of the country’s economy and which spares no effort in this direction.

We thank her on behalf of her president for co-opting us, and we hope to make our best contribution to the interests of our country and our citizens.

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