Pharma firms eye Fran­co­phone ar­eas

China Daily European Weekly - - Busi­ness -

“Over the past few years, these preva­lent patholo­gies have been get­ting dom­i­nant, with a pre­dictable ex­plo­sion in can­cer by 2020 and dif­fi­cult ac­cess to treat­ment,” he says.

Riquier says the preva­lence of can­cer in Africa, par­tic­u­larly in Fran­co­phone coun­tries, con­sti­tutes a real con­cern for his agency, bea­cuse of the ab­sence of ac­ces­si­ble prod­ucts.

“De­spite the eco­nomic growth of the African con­ti­nent, Fran­co­phone coun­tries re­main, un­for­tu­nately, out­side the area of in­ter­est for many phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal lab­o­ra­to­ries, which are un­able to com­ply with the avail­able model of in­tro­duc­tion. This pre­vents pa­tients from ac­cess­ing on­col­ogy prod­ucts, to the des­per­a­tion of on­col­o­gists and med­i­cal cor­po­ra­tions,” he says.

This sit­u­a­tion, Riquier says, leaves an open door for Chi­nese labs that have prod­ucts that cor­re­spond to mar­ket needs and are ready to com­ply with a mar­ket strongly held by French op­er­a­tors for dis­tri­bu­tion, and who are able to op­er­ate ac­cord­ing to lo­cal rules and obli­ga­tions.

De­spite the fact most of the generic man­u­fac­tur­ers of can­cer prod­ucts are based in Asia, Riquier says it has been dif­fi­cult to make them un­der­stand the specifics of the pre­vail­ing sys­tem in African Fran­co­phone coun­tries, prob­a­bly due to a cul­tural gap.

It has there­fore been hard for them to co­op­er­ate with the main French op­er­a­tors, choos­ing to go it alone but with­out much suc­cess. Con­se­quently, they re­main un­for­tu­nately out­side the mar­ket, which is re­gret­table for all con­cerned par­ties, in­clud­ing pa­tients, he says.

“For any Chi­nese group or lab­o­ra­tory in­ter­ested in the African Fran­co­phone mar­ket, I would rec­om­mend that they com­ply with a more tra­di­tional strat­egy based on car­ry­ing out a mar­ket sur­vey and fea­si­bil­ity study on prod­uct se­lec­tion and el­e­ments nec­es­sary for a good and cor­rect ap­proach be­fore any in­tro­duc­tion,” he says.

This will en­sure that in­vestors avoid in­ap­pro­pri­ate prod­uct se­lec­tion, and un­der­lines the ne­ces­sity of pro­ceed­ing with reg­is­tra­tion, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal reg­u­la­tions. They will also be able to rely on ex­pe­ri­enced in­ter­na­tional part­ners who are in a po­si­tion to dis­trib­ute and pro­mote their prod­ucts through a wide African net­work.

Riquier notes that act­ing dif­fer­ently would lead ei­ther to the reg­is­tra­tion of non­prod­ucts or to nondis­tri­bu­tion, which hap­pens fre­quently nowa­days be­cause of the re­fusal by many labs in emerg­ing coun­tries to com­ply with best prac­tices and to rely in­stead on of­fi­cial op­er­a­tors.

“Any lab­o­ra­tory will­ing to take a step in Africa’s Fran­co­phone coun­tries should at some stage ne­go­ti­ate its with French op­er­a­tors, par­tic­u­larly re­gard­ing dis­tri­bu­tion and pro­mo­tion,” he says.

Riquier says his agency is will­ing to of­fer ad­vice and rec­om­men­da­tions to Chi­nese labs that have ap­pro­pri­ate prod­ucts, ready to com­ply with a cau­tious and wise ap­proach of the African Fran­co­phone coun­tries’ mar­ket, as well as to co­op­er­ate fully with in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tors in the re­gion.

“We have a long ex­pe­ri­ence in this par­tic­u­lar mar­ket, en­abling us to in­tro­duce only phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal labs that match mar­ket needs in terms of prod­ucts, and we are ready to com­ply with its con­straints and obli­ga­tions,” he says.

Un­like the Fran­co­phone African mar­ket, there is a lot of in­ter­est by Chi­nese phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals in English­s­peak­ing coun­tries. Nige­ria, Africa’s largest econ­omy, with a pop­u­la­tion of 173 mil­lion, is a key tar­get for Chi­nese phar­ma­ceuit­i­cal in­vestors. There has also been sim­i­lar in­ter­est in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, among other coun­tries.

The China-Africa health co­op­er­a­tion is deeply pro­mot­ing the de­vel­op­ment of the con­ti­nent’s phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try. China has also helped Africa curb the spead of Malaria.

Since the 2015 Jo­han­nes­burg FO­CAC sum­mit, a com­pre­hen­sive Chi­nese med­i­cal team in Africa has re­ceived more than 2 mil­lion out­pa­tient vis­its and helped more than 52,000 crit­i­cally ill pa­tients. They have also do­nated equip­ment and medicine, while im­prov­ing Africa’s health in­fra­struc­ture, ac­cord­ing to China’s Na­tional Health Com­mis­sion.

Mar­kets in French-speak­ing nations are primed for Chi­nese in­vest­ment, es­pe­cially in can­cer re­search

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