In a press conference jointly held in Cairo on 12 July by Egyptian Minister of Health and Population, Hala Zayed; and African Union Special Envoy for the African Medicines Agency (AMA), Michel Sidibé; Dr Zayed announced that Egypt has joined the Treaty for the Establishment of the African Medicines Agency (AMA). AMA will be established with the objective of locally producing medicines and vaccines in Africa, and is meant to improve medical capacity in the continent, addressing the deficiency in drug production and the challenges posed by counterfeit and substandard products.
The press conference, held at the Ministry of Health headquarters, was attended by the Head of the Health, Nutrition and Population Division of the African Union Department for Social Affairs, Dr Margaret Agama-Anyetei, as well as high ranking Ministry of Health officials and advisors.
Dr Zayed stressed the support of the Egyptian political leadership for AMA, reminding that talks about its establishment had started back in 2019 when President Sisi was President of the African Union. She pointed at Egypt’s keenness to join the treaty, given the pivotal role Egypt plays in Africa especially in the field of the pharmaceutical industry. The Health Minister divulged Egypt’s endeavours to host AMA headquarters, and she said that it is expected for AMA to be approved during the upcoming African Summit.
Dr Zayed explained that the treaty is expected to unify laws and legislations that concern the trade, registration and pricing of medicine among African countries. The treaty should also encourage African countries to boost investment in the pharmaceutical industry, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said that through AMA, Egypt will work on providing African countries with the medicines and coronavirus vaccines produced in Egypt once the country achieves self-sufficiency.
During his visit to Egypt, Dr Sidibé is expected to visit VACSERA factories to get acquainted with Egypt’s experience in producing vaccines, the Egyptian Medicine Authority, and the Egyptian Medicine City which was inaugurated earlier this year to cater for Egyptian and African pharmaceutical needs.
For his part, Dr Sidibé praised Egypt’s pivotal role in the pharmaceutical and vaccine industry in Africa, and applauded Egypt’s decision to join AMA, saying that this will benefit all African countries. He explained that the pharmaceutical industry worldwide is valued at USD1400 billion, in which the African share is a meagre 0.7 per cent. He said that AMA aims at achieving self-sufficiency for Africa in medicines and vaccines, explaining that it would enable African countries to exchange production techniques.
Dr Sidibé praised Egypt’s initiative to produce the coronavirus vaccine locally, pointing out that the countries which were not able to secure enough doses of the vaccine will not be able to protect their citizens against coronavirus.
Dr Sidibé said that he aspired for AMA to gain the support of international organisations especially WHO, in order to enhance the capabilities of African countries in the field of pharma and vaccine production.
13 July 2021