CEO of Biobusiness Mostafa Al-Wakeel said that the medical device industry is an important type of deep technology that must be localised in the Egyptian market.
During a workshop at the Academy of Scientific Research titled ‘The Importance of Localising Medical and Laboratory Devices Technology, Deepening Local Manufacturing, and the Role of Scientific Research,’ Al-Wakeel pointed out the rapid growth of the medical device industry around the world, as the size of this industry in the world currently has reached $450bn and will reach $750bn by 2030.
He added that Egypt’s investment in R&D — which is a crucial element for the expansion and development of the medical device industry — is still very low despite its importance in general for all commodities, as it contributes to gradually reducing or even eliminating the balance of payments (BOP) deficit and making various goods more affordable to consumers.
“If we invest more in R&D as China has done, we will succeedin producing existing goods with lower costs and simpler features,” he explained.
Al-Wakeel also stressed that R&D faces the problem of high spending, as it requires large budgets that most companies in Egypt cannot provide, which has led to a significant shortcoming in the R&D processes in the field of industry in general and medical devices especially despite the great role played by the Research Academy.
Scientific research in this field requires great support from the government and the allocation of budgets in cooperation with the private sector.
“The technology of manufacturing medical devices is an advanced technology, as any medical device must have four main components — the first of them is technology, where there must be technology that addresses a specific medical problem; and then everything that is tangible in the device, starting with the mechanical components and even the user manual; then the software used in the device and operating systems; and finally approvals to use the device as quality certificates or CE or FDA certificates.”
He also explained that the origin of the medical device industry is an assembly industry and not manufacturing, so the proportion of the local component is an unimportant factor, but the most important thing is the presence of those who provide these components.
These suppliers come at the forefront of technology providers, such as research centres and patent work centres, then manufacturers of mechanical and electronic components, which are already present in Egypt but need significant development and improvement
Furthermore, Al-Wakeel pointed out that the third and most important component in the medical device industry is software, which is the most developed component in Egypt, but the medical device industry lacks knowledge on how to exploit this development.
The fourth component is the approvals and certificates of quality or circulation, which are processed in Egypt through the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA).
He then elaborated that the equivalent of $49bn was spent on R&D operations for medical devices globally over the past year, noting that 38% of the investments in that field were pumped by the big five companies and another 33% were pumped by the following ten companies.
Additionally, he said that the US is responsible for 55% of these investments, while Europe represents 14%. However, the MEA in general does not have any percentage in these investments, stressing that it is a sad thing despite the existence of the capabilities that qualify it to invest in this field.