GSK to invest £130m in African manufacturing

Pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline plans to invest up to £130m into African manufacturing facilities over the next five years to increase drug production in the continent.

The investment, which GSK say has been necessitated by a rise in chronic diseases, includes £25m earmarked for Africa’s first R&D Open Lab for non-communicable diseases.

These diseases include heart and lung disorders, diabetes and cancer attributed to Africa’s growing middle-class population, which has also led to the continent being an area of high growth for the pharmaceutical industry.

Up to £100m is to go into five new manufacturing plants where the company will produce medication for viruses such as HIV, with Rwanda, Ghana and Ethiopia being viewed as potential locations.

This will add to existing GSK African manufacturing sites in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

GSK has also confirmed it is exploring ways for its supply chain to get more medicines to rural areas that can be difficult to reach.

Speaking at the EU-Africa Business Forum in Brussels earlier today, GSK CEO Andrew Witty said: “Our long-term goal is to equip Africa to discover, develop and produce the medicines required for Africa.”

“Today, we are setting out further steps to tackle Africa’s dual health burden of infectious and emerging non-communicable diseases and help build crucial capacity to underpin the development of the healthcare sector in the region,” Mr Witty added.

Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for £500m in sales for the drug manufacturer last year, a small percentage of its £26.5bn turnover for 2013.