Delivering to SA’s pharmaceutical needs

The world is changing in Africa. People are becoming more educated. And according to Tony Lesch, CEO of Pharma-Q, a Johannesburg-based manufacturer of pharmaceutical products, people are better understanding medicine.

Manufacturing more than 500 products at its South African plant, an impressive facility of more than 20,000 square metres, Pharma-Q has a capacity to provide its clients with a range of products, including creams, liquids, ointments, tablets, capsules, and injections, built on its motto to provide qualitative pharmaceutical products at an affordable price.

“To meet the demand of the South African market, we need to devote time and endeavor to be the best partners that any business can aspire to having in South Africa,” said Lesch. “From our operations, we would like all of our divisions to run like a well-oiled Swiss watch. To achieve this, we need to invest in our facilities and equipment to meet the best future manufacturing needs.”

Since April 1998, Pharma-Q has secured 13 significant manufacturing contracts, a move that meets the growing needs of its clientele base.

“We have redesigned our facilities to accommodate and delivery on these contracts numerous times. We manufacture for more than 50 leading global pharmaceutical companies,” added Lesch. “Equipment and facilities do not make medicine—people do. The benefit of Pharma-Q is that it serves the diverse needs of a significant amount of new customers over many years. We’ve deals with a wide range of dosage forms and benefits of multi-nations on an annual basis.”

The South African market is very diverse, but also very small in world terms, so Pharma-Q is very well suited to serve its unique and specific need for its market. The company has successfully established its own pharmaceutical portfolio, entering into key relations with several partnerships in growing and expanding its own product line. When it comes to the company’s competitive edge, it is its in-depth, broad range pharmaceutical experience, adding to its desire to add only willing individuals to its personnel, those with the right understanding of “power of teamwork” that separates the pharamecutical provider from its competition.

The pharmaceutical industry, though somewhat stagnantly linear, has witnessed some significant changes in recent years. Pharma-Q, for instance, has watched what is happening before carving out its own position going forward.

“We were not a company that started off with huge resources, so we couldn’t afford to make mistakes,” adds Lesch. “We haven’t done much on the marketing and sales side to promote our products so we would like to see more of that. We offer a very affordable range of specialized products. The key to that is if we make a little bit more effort, we will be very well positioned for the future.”

The company manufacturers very well known brands, a market which covers about R1.2 billion of South Africa. As the only South African based pharmaceutical company that did not host a work strike in the past year, the company has also been able to use that time to invest in its growth strategy, even adding 200 employees during the global economic downturn. Subsequently, the company now serves as the largest employer in the African pharmaceutical industry.

To ensure the best quality control of its extensive product line, the company’s microbiology laboratory conducts a wide range of pharmaceutical microbiological testing, including routine microbiological screening of incoming raw materials, intermediates and manufactured products, water testing, sterility testing, bacterial endotoxin testing, preservative effectiveness testing, environmental monitoring and antibiotic assessing of raw materials and manufactured products.

One of South Africa’s leading contract-manufacturing businesses with over 12 years experience in pharmaceutical contract manufacturing, Pharma-Q prides itself on providing its clientele with quality medicines backed by its expertise and unwavering commitment to ensure that its manufactured medicines are safe and reliable. Its presence in the international arena has made the company closer to the global pharmaceutical world, in expanding its horizon into central and east Africa. Pharmaceutical demand in South Africa, a large 75 per cent met by imports, means market value is heavily dependent on currency fluctuations. Anticipated market growth with the upcoming overhaul of the pharmaceutical and healthcare regulatory system only adds to that company development.

“Medicine is not a luxury commodity, it’s a necessary commodity. We are proud to make medicine and proud that they achieve the prescription results and we’re confident to administer these medicines to our own families,” concluded Lesch.

“From a business standpoint we are demonstrating what kind of capabilities we have in South Africa. The key message is that I like making medicines because it extends the lives of people.”