Port Elizabeth. The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies today visited the Aspen Pharmacare manufacturing site in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. The purpose of the visit was to engage on the future direction and orientation of the Pharmaceutical Industry in South Africa. The visit was also for Minister Davies to see first-hand the world class manufacturing facilities and capacity that exist at Aspen’s flagship manufacturing site, which has both domestic and export orientation.
The Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) has prioritized the pharmaceutical sector as a lever that is key to South Africa’s growth and development objectives. Minister Davies’ visit to Aspen’s site further strengthened collaboration between the private and public sector, synonymous with the objectives of IPAP.
Minister Davies said visiting Aspen’s facilities is a demonstrable example that industrial policy works in our country.
“The Aspen management team needs to be commended for what they’ve achieved in Port Elizabeth. Although much has been attained, through collaboration with the dti even greater industrial capacity can be unlocked between Aspen and the dti, as we work closely together to optimise the various departmental industrial instruments available. Our joint aim is to achieve further domestic investment; a focused export support and orientation; and further job creation. This will help dent the stubborn trade deficit that continues to drag down the SA pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceuticals, together with medical devices and medical diagnostics, are the 5th largest contributor to the current account deficit that is so costly to our country.”
He said government’s policy on Intellectual Property (IP) seeks to strike a balance between the needs of public health and the interests of innovative pharmaceutical companies.
“The aim of the Intellectual Property (IP) relating to health provisions is to bring South Africa’s laws in line with international agreements, including the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which has legal flexibility measures that effectively allow countries to have policy space access to public health and education. Generic medicine that comes from innovative medicine will also be allowed. Our Industrial Policy Action Plan requires that pharmaceutical companies will be incentivised if they invest in the country like motor manufacturing,” adds Minister Davies
Aspen Group Chief Executive, Stephen Saad said they appreciate Minister Davies’ visit as it allowed him to experience Aspen’s extensive, world class pharmaceutical capability and life sciences resources.
“Billions of rands has been invested in capex enhancements at the Port Elizabeth facilities by Aspen over the years, substantially more than the combined investment from the rest of the South African pharmaceutical industry. Aspen has shown that globally competitive manufacture is possible in South Africa if your strategy is sound and you are prepared to invest in technology and skills.”
“Aspen’s Port Elizabeth facilities remain key to our worldwide business and is the location of our most important production capabilities. Aspen values its relationship with the dti and welcomes working alongside it in order to further unlock investment, market access and export opportunities in SA and across broader geographies.”
The combined manufacturing capacity of Aspen’s Port Elizabeth site exceeds 12 billion oral solid dosage forms annually. This site also produces Murine eye drops, the second largest eye drop brand in the United States (US). The entire US eye drop demand for the Murine and Clear Eyes brands is manufactured at Aspen’s Port Elizabeth site, further endorsing Aspen’s sterile production capabilities, with over 25 million units of eye drops being exported annually to the US.
Since the acquisition of the South African Druggists pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities in 1999, Aspen has been a significant and consistent investor in its Port Elizabeth and at various other manufacturing operations in the country.
The PE site consists of four facilities, together comprising capabilities in oral solid, liquid, steriles and niche high potency pharmaceutical products. This includes complex and specialized manufacturing capabilities such as freeze dried lyophilisation. In line with Aspen’s ambitious offshore growth strategy, its PE facilities carry a number of important local and international Pharmaceutical Regulatory and Quality standard accreditations, covering all key global markets, including South Africa’s MCC, the US FDA, the UK’s MHRA, Europe’s EMEA, Brazil’s ANVISA, Australia’s TGA, the WHO and others. These accreditations are essential for entry into these offshore markets and reinforce the confidence that the MCC and other highly stringent regulatory agencies place in Aspen’s scientific and manufacturing capabilities and its personnel.
Issued jointly by Aspen and the Department of Trade and Industry