Servier's generics unit gets manufacturing facility in Nigeria

Biogaran, the generics unit of French pharma Servier, has acquired Swiss Pharmaceuticals in Nigeria, giving it a production foothold in Africa's most populous country.

Nigeria has been looking for ways to get more drugs manufactured in the country while Servier’s generics unit Biogaran has been looking to expand. Now both will get what they are looking for.

Biogaran has a deal to buy 95% of Nigeria’s Swiss Pharmaceutical, Pharmafile reports, giving it a manufacturing facility in the most populous country in Africa.  Terms of the deal for the company, known as Swipha, were not disclosed.  

Biogaran’s President Pascal Brière, said in a statement that the company was looking for countries in which to expand and decided on Nigeria because of its potential for growth. He pointed out that Nigeria currently only produces about 2% of the meds used in the country.

“We made a survey of many countries to check whether there was room for strong development of our Biogaran concept abroad but many of such countries were eliminated because they were very mature markets and there was no room for new development to succeed. Nigeria was a different market and had room for development,” Brière said.

Swipha’s current products include anxiolytics, tranquilisers, antimalarials and antibiotics and Bigaran has plans to add to add 10 to 12 products a year. But Brière said expansion will wait until Biogaran can get Swipha’s plant in Lagos back in production.

According to several reports, the company has been struggling with mounting debt and the ability to get raw materials, which come with an excise tax while imported meds do not.

It was a problem that members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) last year urged the government to address. They asked officials to establish a development fund a fund that would allow drugmakers to accessing foreign exchange that would allow them to quickly buy raw materials. Additionally, he urged lawmakers to extend a 0% common external tariff to raw and packaging materials that currently have duties that range from 5% to 20%.