Local production of anticancer drugs from biotechnology will help reduce their prices in Morocco and increase the prospects for their export, assured Monday, officials on the sidelines of the inauguration in Casablanca of the first factory of these drugs in Africa.
The Sothema laboratories, a national pharmaceutical operator, have commissioned the new production unit for these drugs at their site in Bouskoura (a suburb of the metropolis), alongside the extension of a flexible pouch manufacturing unit for infusion and launching a third biomass for green energy production by recycling olive and argan waste.
The cancer drugs that will be manufactured in Bouskoura are likely to meet the growing needs for the treatment of different types of cancer, whose number continues, unfortunately, to increase year by year, said the Minister of Health Anas Doukkali.
The Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, for his part, insisted on the vitality of the new factory, which was born in the wake of the ecosystem of the pharmaceutical industry, whose activity knows a clear evolution, thanks to the dynamism of the operators determined to achieve a real takeoff of the sector.
The minister welcomed the existence of high-cost operators, who export some of the medicines produced in the Kingdom to Europe and Africa.
Sothema CEO Lamia Tazi said that the new units, carried out in stages, required substantial investments to meet the need for quality medicines accessible to Moroccan and African patients.
By launching the production of anti-cancer drugs derived from biotechnology, Sothema Laboratories, which employs 1,200 people, “contribute to bringing autonomy and health security to the kingdom and, ultimately, to Moroccan and African patients an innovative and above all accessible quality treatment”. Explains the company in a document distributed to the press.
“At the international level, such investments bring Morocco into the narrow circle of countries that have acquired this latest-generation technology,” it is noted, adding that local production of these drugs “at prices much lower than those of imported products brings several major benefits”.
Four years after its creation in 1976, Sothema began its adventure in biotechnology, setting up local production of insulin and later Enoxaparin.
Evaluated, audited and accredited regularly by the Ministry of Health as well as several international bodies, the industrial sites of Sothema laboratories are now an export platform to several African, Arab and European countries marketing a wide range from tablets to biosimilars through injectable forms, according to data provided by the company, which also offers “a platform for shaping pharmaceuticals for 35 international pharmaceutical companies”.
In recent years, Sothema has also committed to strengthening South-South cooperation by creating a vast network of representations in African countries.