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The Pharmaceutical Industry in South Africa
The pharmaceutical sector is dominated by multinational pharmaceutical companies. Although a greater variety of products is available in the private sector, the public health sector consumes the largest volume of pharmaceuticals. Vaccines and ARVs for HIV infection account for more than 50% of total public health sector expenditure on pharmaceuticals. While almost 70% of the pharmaceutical products that are used are locally-produced, various active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished products are imported. The sector is highly regulated and the development, production, marketing and sale of pharmaceuticals are strictly controlled.
As a supplier of essential products, the pharmaceutical industry has been able to withstand the economic downturn of the past decade better than many other industries. The weak exchange rate has driven up the price of imported ingredients and finished products. Price agreements between government and suppliers have reduced the cost of pharmaceuticals used in public sector hospitals and primary care clinics. Manufacturers’ profit margins continue to narrow.
Demand for sanitisers and hygiene products in response to coronavirus has seen a number of non-specialist producers and suppliers enter the market. Some public sector sanitiser suppliers have charged inflated prices and/or supplied substandard products.
This report focuses on the manufacture of pharmaceuticals in South Africa and includes the wholesale and retail trade in pharmaceutical products. It includes information on the state and size of the sector and influencing factors including the response to coronavirus, regulation, research and development and competition. There are profiles of 122 companies including international companies operating in South Africa such as Cipla, Sanofi and Novartis, major local manufacturers such as Aspen and Adcock Ingram and retailers including Clicks and Dis-Chem. Other profiles include state-owned South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, whose subsidiary NTP Radioisotopes is one of the world’s largest producers of medical radioisotopes and radioisotope-based diagnostic imaging and therapy products, and Alpha Pharm pharmacies, the largest group of independent community pharmacies in South Africa.