At a time when South Africa desperately needs some good news, Cipla’s upgraded Mirren facility will not only be able to meet the high demand of critical medicine needs but also help grow the beleaguered economy.
Since Cipla acquired a 100% stake in 35-year-old over the counter (OTC) pharmaceutical manufacturer Mirren in 2018, it has invested more than R70 million to increase capacity, improve safety and drive efficiencies at the facility located in Benoni, Gauteng. Now with the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) approval obtained from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority’s (SAHPRA), the facility can run at full throttle to ensure continuous supply of over-the-counter medication, particularly ahead of the crucial winter months.
CEO of Cipla South Africa, Paul Miller, said: “This approval means that we are fully compliant with all quality and regulatory requirements. Cipla ethos is to ensure access to affordable, quality medicine. We will therefore ensure that we enough raw material and contingencies in place to have sufficient medicine to help treat colds and flu, alleviate pain and boost people’s immune systems.”
Cipla is committed to servicing patient demand that has seen Mirren’s OTC products, such as Broncol cough syrup, Coryx, Tensopyn and Ultimag, become household names in the last 35 years.
Cipla’s expanding footprint
This acquisition increased Cipla’s local manufacturing footprint from two to three dedicated facilities on the African continent, reinforcing the company’s current OTC portfolio. The company also has manufacturing facilities in Durban and in Kampala, Uganda.
In 2019, a new granulation suite was constructed at Mirren, and the old granulation and packaging suites as well as the raw materials warehouse were upgraded. The Mirren facility now includes a laboratory, a finished goods warehouse and new air handling and water facility. These changes, in addition to improved efficiencies across the supply chain, helped to increase the production capacity at Mirren by more than 67%.
Manufacturing leads economic growth
While the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak adds to business uncertainty, this new facility, by providing a significant amount of new jobs, as well as the roll-on effect to other sectors that manufacturing demands, will make a valuable contribution to the South African economy. This multiplier effect in the field of manufacturing has proven to generate more broad-scale economic growth than any other sector and Cipla is proud to play a role here. Miller said: “Increasing our local manufacturing capacity helps to create more job opportunities not only in the pharmaceutical industry but has a ripple effect across other industries too.”