JSE listed Aspen (APN), Africa and the Southern hemisphere’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer, has hosted the Honourable Minister Mosibudi Mangena, MP, South African Minister of Science and Technology, at their flagship Port-Elizabeth manufacturing site.
The visit was aimed at exploring areas where the Department of Science and Technology (DST) can support local manufacturers in realising greater local capacity and expanded export capability. Moreover the visit was aimed at showcasing Aspen’s scientific and technical capabilities in the field of infectious disease interventions, given Aspen’s global recognition and positioning in this therapeutic area.
Aspen Group Chief Executive, Stephen Saad said “the South African pharmaceutical industry has traditionally been inwardly orientated and is characterised by a large trade imbalance, with imports making up more than 10 times the value of exports. This unhealthy trade balance threatens supply security, particularly in key areas, such as infectious diseases, where South Africa and the sub-Saharan region bear a disproportionate burden of the world’s infectious diseases.”
Saad added that “Interactions with South African Government, such as the one that has taken place with the Minister and his team, enables local industry and Government to work together in addressing the healthcare, science and technology challenges that face our country, not least of which includes the broadening of access to pharmaceuticals to the citizens of our country and the wider sub-Saharan region. Furthermore, these interactions with Government assist in highlighting the export potential that exists in the pharmaceutical sector, which is consistant with the significant export growth that Aspen has realised in recent times. Our experiences here are consistant with the pharmaceutical growth potential identified recently by the Harvard Group, the Presidency, the Department of Trade and Industry and the AU Health Summit”.
Aspen pioneered the development of African ARVs, a strategic initiative,which lead to it being recognised as the world’s first pharmaceutical manufacturer to receive US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the manufacture of co-packed generic ARVs manufactured at its world class oral solid dose (OSD) facility. Aspen’s pioneering efforts were partly accomplished through the confidence that its research based multi-national partners expressed in the company, which enabled Aspen to secure voluntary licenses and receive technology transfers from these multi-national companies. Aspen launched its first ARV in 2003 and has continued to remain actively involved in finding meaningful solutions to the triple pandemics of HIV, AIDS and TB, actions measured by its more than R1.5bn capital investments in local manufacture capacity. This has provided an infrastructural investment platform, from which Aspen can continue to be a significant supplier to the South African market, the rest of Africa and its other offshore businesses such as Australia, in multiple therapeutic areas.