IBSA in the World

Special IBSA around the world: Africa


Africa is a continually fast-growing continent with enormous pharmaceutical market potential. IBSA has been operating in this context for over 20 years, with a consolidated presence particularly in the field of reproductive medicine. The basis of this success is IBSA’s very strong relationships with local distributors. One example of a truly virtuous partnership particularly stands out: Habib Scientific Office, which distributes in Egypt the complete fertility line, some products for pain and inflammation and dermoaesthetics, and is registering and launching vitamin D (consumer health). In addition to Egypt, Habib Scientific Office covers the markets of Kenya, Sudan and Ghana (read more here).

IBSA also has a presence in several other markets, thanks to its constant relationship with local companies. In Algeria, a distribution contract has been signed and the registration of gonadotropins (reproductive medicine) is underway. Through another distributor, IBSA also distributes products for the intra-articular segment. In Nigeria IBSA has an important agreement with the multinational Exeltis Healthcare S.L., also in the field of reproductive medicine, while in South Africa the products are handled by two different distributors: Aspen Pharmacare for pain and inflammation and Delfran Pharmaceuticals for reproductive medicine. At the end of July 2021, an important dermoaesthetic product was also launched in South Africa. Finally, there is particular interest in the Mediterranean area of the continent. IBSA has a presence in Libya, where the distribution of products is quite easy because it is sufficient to register a company and not individual products, in Morocco, where IBSA distributes products for osteoarthritis, and in Tunisia, where the company operates in the field of reproductive medicine. North Africa is an area characterised by strong partnerships, including for dermoaesthetics: Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia are the main markets in the area, while Algeria and Libya are the next markets where cooperation will be established in the short term.

As far as the future is concerned, IBSA plans to expand the therapeutic area of dermoaesthetics, increase its presence in the reproductive medicine sector and strengthen its intra-articular sector, which has good potential in the African market. Supplements, which are part of consumer health, may also have good scope for expansion, as we have seen in Egypt with vitamin D.

Like South America and Asia, Africa is also a continent of distributors.Andrea Taborelli, Business Development & Licensing Manager, explains that “in short, there are essentially three critical points of this market: the limited average spending power of the population, difficulties with local distribution in many cases (transport network and temperature-controlled storage) and the complexity of the registration processes for all product categories. For its development, IBSA therefore relies on a strategy that involves, on the one hand, a careful assessment of the needs of individual markets and, on the other hand, the selection of specialised and structured business partners. Not all the products in IBSA’s portfolio are suitable for the different markets on the African continent; it is up to us to consider very carefully whether, where and how to distribute. Within the Business Development team, our colleague Shawn Valenti is in charge of scouting and licensing for Africa and the Middle East.