The South African government has expressed its appreciation for the announcement made by global pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk regarding its decision to produce insulin in South Africa.
- The announcement was made during an event attended by important dignitaries, including WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Danish Finance Minister Nicoli Wammen, and South Africa’s Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition, Ebrahim Patel.
- Novo Nordisk’s collaboration with Aspen, Africa’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer, will facilitate the production of human insulin, aimed at improving access to insulin treatment not only in South Africa but also across the continent.
- The partnership will enable the local production of human insulin in South Africa through the conversion of insulin into finished dose vials. It is projected to supply over 1 million patients with 16 million doses in 2024, with further scaling up to 4 million patients by 2026.
- The production will take place in Gqeberha, South Africa, utilizing Aspen’s sterile infrastructure, including facilities previously used for COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing. The initiative will create job opportunities, with 250 people expected to be employed for insulin production starting in early 2024.
- The move towards insulin production in Africa is significant, as the continent imports 99% of its vaccines and approximately 80% of its pharmaceutical requirements. Local production will help reduce the growing pharmaceutical trade deficit.
- The expansion of pharmaceutical production on the African continent not only addresses healthcare challenges but also offers economic benefits. With a population of 1.4 billion, Africa represents a substantial market, providing commercial viability for local production and reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation.