Transitioning out of a period of instability following the revolution of 2011, Tunisia has much to recommend it within its region. Comparative political stability and a geostrategic location as the northerly most country in Africa are helping turn the Arab world’s only full democracy into an attractive investment destination once again.
In terms of healthcare and the life sciences, Tunisia can boast impressive levels of medical tourism; a much-improved market access environment for innovative drugs; a historic and well-established pharmaceutical manufacturing footprint and therefore the potential to export in larger volumes to its neighbors; as well as the regional headquarters of several leading MNCs.
However, the picture is not completely rosy. Frequent changes at ministerial level are helping create somewhat of an uneven and uncertain playing field for pharma companies and inflexible pricing legislation is severely restricting patient access to innovative medicines. On a macro level, unemployment remains high and GDP growth is still sluggish at one percent for 2016.
Through interviews with Tunisia’s key industry stakeholders, a picture emerges, for pharmaceutical innovators, of a nation not without issues — but with great potential to stand out from the crowd in its region in a number of key areas.