GlobalData Plc
  • Infectious diseases will drive South African pharmaceutical market towards $7.3 billion by 2020

South Africa’s pharmaceutical market, which is one of the largest and most rapidly growing markets in Africa, will expand in value from $5.16 billion in 2015 to reach $7.28 billion by 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate of 7%, says research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The company’s latest report states that while the South African pharmaceutical industry is well developed and mainly focused on producing generic drugs and manufacturing copy drugs under license, it will be driven by the high prevalence of infectious diseases, expanded public healthcare coverage, and the introduction of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).

Infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis have high prevalence rates in South Africa. Indeed, more than one in ten of the population had HIV in 2015, a total in excess of six million people. Furthermore, lifestyle changes mean the prevalence of non-communicable diseases is increasing.

In February 2016, the South African National Aids Council (SANAC) established a state-owned pharmaceutical company, Ketlaphela, which will supply anti-retro-viral drugs to the Department of Health. SANAC has 17 diverse civil society sectors, which play a vital role in providing medicine for the treatment of HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections.

The South African government introduced the National Health Insurance (NHI) policy in 2011 with the goal of achieving universal health coverage by 2025. Once fully implemented, the NHI will make healthcare accessible to all and will enable the use of private healthcare facilities by everyone irrespective of their economic condition, which in turn will drive pharmaceutical consumption. It is currently in the early stages of implementation and is being tested on a pilot scale.

Additionally, the replacement of the Medicines Control Council with SAHPRA will speed up the drug approval process, which was considered a major hindrance by drug makers. It is expected that, once established, SAHPRA will speed up the drug registration process from five years to one year. The SAHPRA bill was approved by the South African parliament in February 2014 and is expected to begin functioning in April 2017.

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