Cipla reopens Durban manufacturing after looting, putting life-saving drugs back into production


Durban – CIPLA’s manufacturing plant in Durban reopened on Thursday, after being vandalized and looted during the unrest last month.

Cipla South Africa chief executive Paul Miller said it took just over a month to reestablish the facility, which had been raided by more than 1,000 looters.

Miller said that in addition to the millions of rand the company had to spend to get the production chain back on track, the generic drugmaker needed to rely on its global supply chain and other drug sites. manufacturing to ensure continuity of drug supply, especially for key therapeutic areas, such as antiretrovirals for people living with HIV.

According to Cipla, South Africa has an estimated 7 million people living with HIV, 4 million of whom depend on South Africa’s pharmaceutical companies to provide life-saving treatments.

Miller said Cipla provides about 20% of the supply of anti-HIV drugs – about 800,000 people per month – who could not afford not to take anti-HIV treatment.

“We estimate that at least one in five people depend on our medications,” Cipla said.

From an inventory perspective, Cipla said it had a good amount of buffer stock in other distribution centers across the country, which helped mitigate any possible supply disruptions.

Miller commended the staff and the surrounding community for their support in getting back on track.

Fortunately, none of the more than 500 Cipla employees working at this plant were injured in this incident. Cipla staff displayed an indomitable spirit and worked tirelessly to get us back into operation on as quickly as possible at this facility. We were also fortunate to have the support of various other actors in the local community, who assisted in the aftermath of this incident, “said Miller.

The company said it had employed five subcontractors to expedite intensive cleaning operations and the repair process, in order to comply with its Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification.

Cipla was delisted from the SA stock exchange in July 2013, after being acquired by the global company.

The company said, however, that it remained supportive of sourcing South Africa and Africa, as part of what it saw as the most effective stimulators of economic growth and the creation of ‘jobs.

In addition to the Durban plant, Cipla also has a plant in Johannesburg and another manufacturing plant in Uganda. The company said it aims to equip various regions with their own manufacturing capabilities – and has invested in upgrading the technological capabilities of these factories to improve production capacity, boost digital innovation and ensure uninterrupted access. to patients to quality and affordable medicines.

KwaZulu-Natal Prime Minister Sihle Zikalala attended the official opening of the site accompanied by Ravi Pillay, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.

Zikalala congratulated Cipla on restoring production to the factory, saying it was a show of exemplary leadership.

“What Cipla has done is show confidence in the KZN economy and help it grow. We hope, as a province, that we can emerge wiser from the experience, ”said Zikalala.

Zikalala reminded the pharmaceutical company that it was previously considering expanding its business to the commercial port of Dube, in the province, as what he said would facilitate intra-African trade, allowing even more supply to d other countries in the African region.

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