Country Report: South Africa - Pharmaceutical Executive


Country Report: South Africa
Leading the Pharma Model

Pharmaceutical Executive


The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) is a national initiative meant to empower black individuals in South African society. According to the Department of Trade and Industry's website, "The fundamental objective of the Act is to advance economic transformation and enhance the economic participation of black people in the South African economy."

Passed into law in 2003, the Codes of Good Practice on BBBEE and compliance requirements were published in 2007. A BBBEE scorecard based on seven pillars, each with a relative weighting, was established to evaluate company compliance. This scorecard counts towards companies for tender purposes.

For some international companies, meeting the BBBEE requirements can be challenging. "Clearly, BBBEE is top of our agenda. However, for multinationals such as Abbott, it is not easy because we will never give up ownership. BBBEE is a challenge for us, but we need to find innovative ways to comply and improve our score constantly," says Laura Engelbrecht Joubert, general manager for Abbott South Africa and Africa.

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Ian Ross-Marsh, managing director at Teva Pharmaceuticals, says that it is important to incorporate the principle at every level of operations. "The ways that we can become compliant are by our discretionary purchases, our social responsibilities, our whole office sales force, regulatory management, finance components, and by having a broad spectrum of people." On the discretionary side, Teva South Africa tries to purchase from companies that are BBBEE compliant as much as possible.

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Dr. Timmy Kedijang, general manager of Novo Nordisk South Africa, is proud of a strong BBBEE scorecard. "We support the notion of transformation in general for the country by being aligned with the country's objectives of employment equity in terms of our staff. For example, we have recently increased our staff by 14%, and 75% of the newly recruited staff came from a previously disadvantaged background. On top of that, the company sources and procures goods and services from small to medium black-owned companies, last year reaching 45% of local procurement from black-owned companies."

Pfizer has also made significant headway toward reaching BBBEE objectives. Brian Daniel, chief executive officer and country manager of Pfizer in South Africa, explains, "As soon as we finalized the merger with Wyeth, we decided to put together a plan of action in order to achieve an improved position as part of the BBBEE scorecard. We have just designated R1.6 million (or about 202,000 USD) for internal training program and for the on-boarding of several learners (mobile and disabled learners) as part of a credible learner-ship program, to be implemented over the next 12 months."

"This journey is a process, which can only strengthen our business resolve and furthermore, we see our commitment to a process of transformation as a moral obligation. As an American company, we are privileged to be here and do business and therefore we need to play a meaningful role in the development of both people and country," Daniel says.


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