14/04/16: Shauneen Beukes
Port Elizabeth. JSE-listed Aspen, the largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in the southern hemisphere, earlier today hosted Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi at its Port Elizabeth-based flagship manufacturing site.
The visit provided an opportunity to discuss Aspen’s economic growth and export contributions to South Africa, and to demonstrate its globally recognised specialized manufacturing technologies. Aspen is the leading supplier of medicines to the South African public and private sectors, with approximately 1 in 4 medicines dispensed in the public sector being an Aspen product.
Stavros Nicolaou, Aspen Senior Executive, Strategic Trade said, “The visit further strengthens the collaboration between Government and Aspen, and provides additional impetus to jointly finding homegrown solutions to the challenges that face South Africa’s economic and healthcare system. This collaboration also dispels some myths that Government and the private sector are at odds with one another.”
“Aspen has significantly expanded its global footprint. It has an active presence in 76 countries and distributes product to more than 150 countries. This expansion has been mirrored by our ongoing investment in local manufacture which in the past 18 months has exceeded R2 billion, and which continues to contribute to economic growth and export prospects. Our more recent developments include a High Containment Suite to produce high potency and oncological products, and a second Small Volume Parental facility with highly specialised, pre-filled syringe capability for niche low molecular weight heparin injectables for domestic and offshore markets. We also produce the unique MDR-TB injection, Capreomycin (Capstat)® as well as more than 40 million units of Murine® eye drops, the USA’s second largest over the counter eyed drop brand.”
In his capacity as the Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), Deputy President Ramaphosa said, “I salute Aspen for having the foresight to build these plants here in Port Elizabeth, therefore creating valuable high tech jobs. It allows us as Government to purchase medicines that Aspen produces at affordable prices.”
Nicolaou added that Aspen’s latest capex spend positions it as a global leader in a number of niche therapeutic areas, such as injectable anti-coagulants (thrombotics), infant nutrition and male and female hormonal health. This investment has further enabled it to re-locate off shore manufacture back into South Africa, which provides for significant export opportunities.
“Aspen has ambitious global plans in selected niche, specialist therapeutic areas. These plans are consistent with and aligned to Government’s industrialisation plans. We remain committed to an ongoing contribution to diversify South Africa’s economy, unlock local investments, further establish economic linkages with SME’s, provide job and export opportunities and contribute to the overall challenge of tackling the stubborn inclusive growth challenge we face. Aspen is proof that technology-driven companies will continue to significantly contribute to South Africa’s economic growth,” said Nicolaou.
Present at the visit was CEO of Proudly SA, Advocate Leslie Sedibe, who said, “Aspen’s investment in local manufacture and its state of the art facility is a clear demonstration of SA’s global competitiveness in support of DTI’s call to strengthen SA’s industrialization programme through the support for local products. Proudly SA supports Aspen’s achievements in this regard.”
While Aspen has 28 manufacturing facilities at 8 sites around the world, South Africa remains the Group’s preferred manufacturing destination, proving that this country’s pharmaceutical manufacture can compete with among the best in the world. Aspen employs over 3000 people in the Eastern Cape across its PE and East London sites.