Pharmaceutical Market in South Africa

The South African pharmaceuticals market was worth ZAR30 billion in 2011 [22]. Although the public sector accounted for 75% of volume, this constituted only 35% of the market by value. Accordingly, the private market was estimated to account for 25% of the volume but 65% of the market by value.

Generic penetration was expected to be far higher in the public sector but has not been measured in any systematic way. Citing data from IMS Health, generic medicines were estimated to account for about 65% of all items dispensed in the private sector and 40% of expenditure [23]. Data on generic utilisation in the private sector is only reported publicly by Mediscor, a pharmaceutical benefit management organisation, which provides services to medical schemes with a total of about 1 million beneficiaries. In 2015, Mediscor reported that generic medicines accounted for 56.2% of items claimed on behalf of these beneficiaries [24]. Mediscor is serving a number of medical schemes with over a million beneficiaries, also reported that in 76.5% of instances where a generic equivalent was available, the generic was actually dispensed.

The World Health Statistics 2015 reported that out-of-pocket expenditure accounted for 13.8% of private sector expenditure on health in 2012 in South Africa [8]. Some of this expenditure is due to public sector-dependent (uninsured) persons, accessing health care, including medicines, in the private sector. In 2011, the over-the-counter (OTC) products market in South Africa was worth ZAR10.3 billion, with the majority of sales by value (65%) being made in community pharmacies [20].

Imports of finished pharmaceutical products increased from ZAR8.25 billion in 2007 to ZAR17.5 billion in 2013 [25]. In the same year, South Africa exported pharmaceuticals worth ZAR1274 million. In terms of the global pharmaceutical market, South Africa contributed just 0.4% of this market by value and less than 1% by volume at global level [23]. Imports of innovator and branded products are mainly from Europe and the USA. India topped the list of countries from which finished pharmaceutical products, mostly generics, were imported. South African medicines are exported to other African countries, but also to the USA, Australia and France. Within Africa, the major export markets are Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe [23].

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