PPP initiatives could grow pharmaceuticals industry in Botswana

Way forward for a fledgling industry in the region, says Frost & Sullivan

Botswana does not yet have a pharmaceutical manufacturing industry and therefore all drugs are imported. In an attempt to improve accessibility, the government is launching private-public partnership (PPP) initiatives to kick-start local pharmaceutical production.

Frost & Sullivan’s report, The Pharmaceutical Industry in Botswana, finds that the generic drugs market in the country was worth US$73.7m in 2008, with branded drugs at US$62.8m. By 2015, generic drugs are expected to reach US$168.8m and branded drugs US$116.1m.

Through government-backed PPPs, Frost & Sullivan expects prices will come down as a result of the availability of locally manufactured generic drugs.

‘Lack of technical capability has been one of the main deterrents to local drug production, although the trend towards partnering Indian and Thai generic drug makers should, in the medium- to long-term, help ease this constraint,’ said Frost & Sullivan research analyst Ishe Zingoni.

Increased availability of low-cost generic drugs is poised to drive their uptake. As patents on major drugs are expiring, the availability of generic alternatives in Botswana is on the rise.

‘Mass treatment programmes which had relied on donated branded drugs are now switching to cheaper generic versions,’ said Zingoni. ‘Local production of generic drugs, once in place, is set to expand coverage of these mass roll-out programmes.’

The lack of technical skills has been the main deterrent to local production. However, overseas companies – mostly from Asia Pacific – are seeking to enter strategic partnerships with local firms that are likely to enable local pharmaceutical production.