AstraZeneca Targets Africa Sales Boost

Thursday, February 11, 2016

AstraZeneca Plc, the U.K.’s second-largest drugmaker, plans to increase sales in Africa by almost 10 percent a year as the company seeks to capitalize on efforts by governments to improve health-care systems and fight conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Construction is about to start on a manufacturing plant in Algeria costing “tens of millions of dollars,” Tarek Rabah, the company’s vice-president for the Middle East and Africa, said in an interview in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. The factory will make drugs to treat cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. AstraZeneca also has a plant in Egypt that manufactures drugs to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

“If you want to expand in Africa you need to understand this is a long-term effort,” Rabah said. “You need to be an active contributor to really strengthen the health-care system.”

Africa’s pharmaceutical industry generated sales of $20.8 billion in 2013, compared with $4.7 billion a decade earlier, McKinsey and Co. said in June. The market may be worth as much as $65 billion by 2020, according to the consultants. London-based AstraZeneca’s annual sales on the continent are less than $500 million out of a 2015 global total of $24.7 billion, Rabah said.

Source: Bloomberg (link opens in a new window)

Health Care