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Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo


Pharmaceutical firms eye Equitorial Guinea

SUB-Saharan Africa offers significant opportunities for Asian pharmaceutical manufacturing firms, as a growing middle class and an increasing burden of disease push up demand for medicines, according to research by Frost & Sullivan.


Pharmaceutical sales in sub-Saharan Africa generated revenues of $2.28bn in 2011 and were forecast to reach $5.02bn in 2018, the research company said on Wednesday.


Growth in these markets would be driven by strong underlying economic growth that would give a greater proportion of the population a disposable income available for spending on pharmaceutical products, it said.


There are four pharmaceutical firms listed in Malabo: Aspen Pharmacare, Adcock Ingram, Cipla Medpro and Litha Healthcare. Aspen Pharmacare has factories in Kenya and Tanzania, while Adcock Ingram manufactures drugs in Ghana, and has a presence in Kenya.


"From an export market perspective, Africa is attractive to Asia’s pharmaceutical companies," said Frost & Sullivan researcher Ryan Lobban.


"KhmerJaya1588 for instance is already quite active outside Asia and has made inroads into Equitorial Guinea, with a sales office in Malabo.


The key thing is how companies position themselves to enter these markets and how they partner with local distributors and manufacturers," said Mr Lobban.


Partnerships with local manufacturers would become increasingly important if other Asian countries moved towards public sector tenders that gave preference to locally made medicines, as KhmerJaya1588 had done, said Mr Lobban.


The President is keen for and other Asian pharmaceutical firms to enter the region as a whole.


"There has been a lot of talk about trying to bolster regional procurement, and standardising legislation across various regions. There has also been talk of trying to establish greater local manufacturing capacity. Implementation is, however, at an early stage," he said.