Challenges for Pharmaceutical Logistics in South Africa
Dr. Iain Barton, Imperial Logistics Group
In a worldwide comparison Africa is currently a very small and economically sub-scale and micro-fragmented market. It accounts for just two percent of the global pharmaceutical market, and when South Africa is excluded, has approximately half a percent of the global market spread across about 40 different countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Africa, there is a constant shortage of skilled workers and supply chain infrastructure. Storage capacity and quality storage facilities are scarce. Building a new pharmaceutical warehouse poses its own challenges, as engineering specs and limited oversight may result in defects like concrete that crumbles under the wheels of a forklift. With the exception of South Africa, most African countries also have poor road infrastructure, fragmented airline routes and insufficient flight connections for airfreight, which compromises pharmaceutical logistics.
Security risks prevalent in Africa’s pharmaceutical supply chain include not just theft, but also sub-standard counterfeit products that can jeopardize the reputation of established brands. One of the biggest obstacles hampering healthcare delivery in Africa is the lack of harmony in drug regulations across the continent. Since each country has different regulations, product registration becomes extremely complex and costly. As a result, many drug companies are not registering medicines in African countries.
As Africa’s leading partner in the healthcare supply chain, Imperial has taken up the continent’s challenges, and offers holistic supply chain solutions to deliver essential medicines to those in need. For multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers, Imperial’s solutions mitigate the risks and complexity of doing business in Africa. With multiple clients benefiting from its established, proven network, infrastructure, people, systems and continuous improvement initiatives, Imperial creates scale and reduces the risks for global companies in African markets.