Africa faces China powerhouse in trying to build manufacturing capacity

Like other developing markets, African countries feel the need to develop domestic drug manufacturing to get some control over costs and to take some command of their destiny. But like just like API makers everywhere, they see the burgeoning Chinese market as a tough competitor to get past.

Drugmakers in a number of African countries are banding together to form the Federation of African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (FAPMA) in hopes of giving local input into the implementation of the African Union pharmaceutical manufacturing plan, in-PharmaTechnologist reports.

FAPMA spokeswoman Tsungi Moyo told in-PharmaTechnologist that the continent has to overcome its infrastructure shortcomings and build a domestic drug manufacturing industry if it is to thrive. "Self-sufficiency in healthcare is important for economic growth, for that reason it is dangerous to be dependent on others. Hence the infrastructure problems of Africa should be addressed. This can only be done by directly confronting them rather than giving up and abdicating our future to others."

She said that having more domestic drugmaking would also help Africa confront the problem of counterfeits, which often get dumped into markets. But part of the difficulty is facing competition from China and India, drugmaking powerhouses that produce drugs inexpensively.

Paul Lartey, CEO of Ghana-based API manufacturer and drugmaker LaGray Chemical, told the publication that both the governments of India and China grant incentives for pharmaceutical exports to manufacturers, and India is trying to get more to deal with growing competition from China. "Recall that India is a net exporter of pharmaceuticals and produces a major percentage of its raw material needs. The Africa-based industry, however, produces significantly less than 30% of Africa's needs and imports almost all of its raw material," he said.

- read the in-PharmaTechnologist story