Pharma firms eye Francophone areas
“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