ISRAELI DRUG EXPORTS OUTSTRIP IMPORTS AS DEMAND FOR GENERICS GROWS
Overseas sales of Israeli medicines reached US$1.49bn for the first nine months of 2005, according to official statistics, as the country's generic and primarily export-driven pharmaceutical industry grew from strength to strength. This compares to a figure of US$882mn for the corresponding period last year.
The strong performance was due to increasing demand in major markets such as the European Union (EU) and the US. In addition, Israeli drugmakers are investing more in production facilities and manufacturing standards are rising throughout the country. Government investment in local transport and shipping infrastructure should also help sector development.
Exports will continue to grow in the future as the global generics trade increases. In 2004, the US FDA approved a record number of generics. By 2010, US$100bn worth of branded drugs will have gone off patent, of which US$26bn will go in 2006 alone.
Israeli drug imports are also on the rise and were worth US$635mn for the nine months to September, up 17% year-on-year. This growth came on the back of increasing demand for innovative, high-tech treatments that cannot be manufactured by Israel's local drug sector.
However, imports are expected to remain of relatively low value in the medium term, and until patent reforms are implemented the domestic generics industry will continue to account for the majority of supply.