Some of the more entrepreneurial Moroccan local laboratories have spotted an opening to leverage their knowledge of Sub Saharan African markets and to act as a conduit and partner for MNCs seeking to break into that region and penetrate those jurisdictions.
The African continent’s potential as a growth market for European and American drug makers remains both underestimated and misunderstood
“I think that the African continent’s potential as a growth market for European and American drug makers remains both underestimated and misunderstood and therefore firms like us have an excellent window of opportunity to bridge that connection both as a mentor and troubleshooter, while at the same time playing a transformative role in solving some of our region’s most pressing health issues,” muses Iberma’s general manager, Karim Lahlou.
Zenith Pharma has interestingly been putting into action a strategy precisely along those lines. “We have gone out and signed partnerships with numerous multinational pharmaceutical and medtech labs to distribute their products not only within Morocco, but right across French-speaking Africa,” recounts president and CEO, Mohamed El Bouhmadi.
With our smaller, more agile structure and local insights we can often adapt better [than Big Pharma] to the in-country conditions and modus operandi [in Africa]
“Our exportation service introducing equipment and registering products in markets such as Senegal, Gabon, or Ivory Coast is of interest to many multinationals because we have the on-the-ground know-how and cultural ties to be able to get things done fast and efficiently. Of course, certain multinationals already try to maintain some kind of local presence in many of these markets, but with our smaller, more agile structure and local insights we can often adapt better to the in-country conditions and modus operandi,” he elaborates. “Essentially what we’re striving to create is more than a classic ‘provider-distributor’ relationship, in essence, a more intimate connection where the multinational benefits from our in-depth understanding of the territory of operations.”
Afric-Phar’s Driss Chaoui has been vigorously pursuing a similar strategy on an even grander scale. “We are already present in many countries in Africa and have been consolidating that presence by registering our own generic products. We are simultaneously managing the export efforts for many MNCs, often offering them the option to extend marketing authorizations to other African markets, which ends up being a win-win situation for both parties,” he recounts.
MNCs sometimes lack the time and necessary resources to handle such markets directly, which tend to imply small batches and volumes that we can deftly handle
“The way it works is the MNC exports to these countries through Afric-Phar, and we handle everything else: registrations in those markets on behalf of the partner, preparation of the export dossiers, market distribution and so forth. MNCs sometimes lack the time and necessary resources to handle such markets directly, which tend to imply small batches and volumes that we can deftly handle. We supervise all the processes from Morocco and include a territorial extension in our distribution contracts,” he details.