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The Tunisian Pharmaceutical Sector in Transformation: Inventory of Fixtures and Innovation Prospects


  • Nejla Yacoub

    () (labrii, ULCO)


Since the entrance of Tunisia to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995, the Tunisian pharmaceutical industry has recorded considerable changes. Notably, with the extension of patentability to pharmaceuticals, the sector is now at a dynamic stage of transformation, translated by a notable development of the industry of generics. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the mutations that have marked the Tunisian pharmaceutical industry over the last decade and study its potential of developing future innovation. In this purpose, the paper is divided into two main parts. In the first one, we are going to present the legal and economic changes in the Tunisian pharmaceutical sector and highlight the emphasis of the government on the production of generics. In the second part, the paper aims at studying the perspectives for innovation in Tunisia through the study of the innovation capabilities in the Tunisian pharmaceutical sector. The results show that in spite of some strengths of the Tunisian economy, the perspectives for pharmaceutical innovation remain handicapped by several financial and structural deficiencies of the national and pharmaceutical innovation systems. Depuis l’adhésion de la Tunisie à l’Organisation Mondiale du Commerce (OMC) en 1995, le secteur pharmaceutique tunisien enregistre des changements considérables. Il se situe aujourd’hui à un stade dynamique de transformations, traduites particulièrement par le développement notable de l’industrie des génériques. L’objectif de cet article consiste donc à analyser les mutations ayant marqué le secteur pharmaceutique tunisien durant la dernière décennie et d’étudier son potentiel d’innovation. Dans cette perspective, l’article s’articule autour de deux grandes parties. Dans la première, nous allons exposer les changements réglementaires et économiques du secteur pharmaceutique tunisien et mettre l’accent surtout sur l’incitation du gouvernement pour la production des génériques. Dans la seconde partie, nous nous proposons d’étudier les perspectives d’innovation en Tunisie à travers l’étude des capacités d’innovation locales dans le secteur pharmaceutique. Les résultats montrent qu’en dépit de certaines forces qui caractérisent l’économie tunisienne par comparaison à d’autres Pays En Développement (PED) similaires, les perspectives d’innovation pharmaceutique demeurent handicapées par nombreuses défaillances financières et structurelles liées aux systèmes national et pharmaceutique d’innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Nejla Yacoub, 2008. "The Tunisian Pharmaceutical Sector in Transformation: Inventory of Fixtures and Innovation Prospects," Working Papers 190, Laboratoire de Recherche sur l'Industrie et l'Innovation. ULCO / Research Unit on Industry and Innovation.
  • Handle: RePEc:rii:riidoc:190

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kamal Saggi, 2002. "Trade, Foreign Direct Investment, and International Technology Transfer: A Survey," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 191-235, September.
    2. Schneider, Patricia Higino, 2005. "International trade, economic growth and intellectual property rights: A panel data study of developed and developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 529-547, December.
    3. Bin Xu & Eric CHiang, 2005. "Trade, Patents and International Technology Diffusion," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 115-135.
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    More about this item


    generics; innovation; innovation system; patents; pharmaceuticals; Tunisia;

    JEL classification:

    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics

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