Why Africa’s Pharmaceutical Market Is Attracting Big Drug Firms

Africa’s fast growing pharmaceutical market is attracting big drug manufactures who are faced with thinning profits in tough developed countries markets.

In just 10 years – between 2003 and 2013 — Africa’s pharmaceutical industry grew from $4.7 billion in to over $20.8 billion, according to a Quartz Africa report, and was expected to grow at between six and 11 percent over the next five years driven by a growing middle class demanding more prescription medicines, generics, over-the-counter medicines and medical devices.

“By 2016, pharmaceutical spending in Africa is expected to reach US $30 billion,” a popular study published by IMS Health Solutions in 2013 said.

As many African economies experience a steadily growing middle class, the disease burden of sub-Saharan Africa has shifted from infectious diseases to the chronic, non-communicable diseases experienced by Western populations, Foreign Policy reported.

With the rise of the middle class across Africa non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes are growing and are expected to account 60 percent of illness and 65 percent of death on the 2020, according to the World Health Organization.


The same diseases were only responsible for 28 percent of illnesses and 35 percent of deaths on the continent in the 1990s.

As a result local drug manufacturers are integrating with bigger foreign players to be able to address these growing demand for lifestyle change medications.

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