Big pharma pounces on South Africa

Drugmakers stand at the ready as South Africa pulls out of recession. Ranbaxy Laboratories has opened its second manufacturing plant there, a $30-million facility called the Be-Tabs Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Plant; Cipla is weighing the purchase of a stake in a venture it helped launched there; and Aspen Pharmacare is expanding.

The Ranbaxy plant will be used to make analgesics, cold, cough and flu preparations in tablet and capsule form, says a local press report. The drugmaker boasts capacity of 1.75 billion units per year, with a packaging capacity of 2 billion. The company says the plant will help South Africa achieve its goal of strengthening the local pharma manufacturing industry.

HIV-AIDS drugmaker Cipla says it will decide next month whether to buy a stake as high as 25 percent in Cipla Medpro, said to be the third largest drugmaker in South Africa. The latter is a partner of Cipla's, but the Indian company currently holds no stake, says the Economic Times. Cipla exports 35 percent of its production to Africa and garners 15 percent of export revenues through Cipla Medpro. 

And Africa's largest drugmaker, Aspen Pharmacare, last month agreed to buy the drugs unit of Australia's Sigma Pharmaceuticals for $806 million. Aspen says it sees cost savings in the deal as well as the means to introduce its products in Australia.

- see the Ranbaxy story
- read the Cipla article
- see this the Bloomberg report