Smart Manufacturing and Healthcare

Factors, challenges and opportunities for the South African pharmaceutical manufacturing sector


The South African pharmaceutical space showed resilience and opportunity during the disruption of the pandemic (Fitch Solutions Group, 2023). South Africa is represented as the largest pharmaceutical market in sub-Saharan Africa, defined in particular by its region-leading expenditure on pharmaceuticals (Fitch Solutions Group, 2023). Recognisable local and international investment has been present and consistent with added opportunities for both the local and regional terrain.

An understanding of the factors that govern the local manufacturing value-chain and its accompanying challenges is pivotal for manufacturers. In the South African pharmaceutical manufacturing context, generic medications find increased utilisation when contrasted to originator drugs. The local pharmaceutical manufacturing context faces noticeable challenges in capacity, cost and ensuring robust regulation, access and quality. Capacity challenges manifest in that, even though between 60-70% of pharmaceutical products are produced locally, almost 98% (R15bn) of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) are imported (WhoOwnsWhom, 2020), (Ntsele, 2023).

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Pharmaceutical manufacturers are facing unprecedented challenges within their supply chains from both a core operational perspective and regulatory requirements. The pressure to perform optimally is important not only for the local market to remain competitive but also to meet the varying demands of patients. Key

Illustration: Virtual medical consultation

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Vinesh Maharaj

Vinesh Maharaj

Smart Manufacturing Lead, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 11 287 0839