Innovative brands robust in Kenya's private pharma market

GSK is market leader in the country with a 12% market share

The Kenyan pharmaceutical market was valued at approximately US$423.2m in 2012 and today is heavily dependent on private patients, according to analysis by Frost & Sullivan.

Within the anti-infective therapeutic segment analysed, products licensed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) were particularly strong across various active ingredient classes.

The complete study provides a synopsis of top-selling products within the anti-infective, cardiovascular, and diabetes therapeutic segments at one of Nairobi’s several hospital outpatient pharmacies.

Affordability remains a primary restraint in the domestic market, along with low reimbursement levels, the research found. Increasingly, urban consumers are the primary market for pharmaceuticals in Kenya, while private hospital pharmacies remain the principal vendors of medicines within the country's urban pharmaceutical market.

The Kenyan prescription drug market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 11.8%, says Frost & Sullivan.

GSK’s dominance in the overall market is largely attributable to its success in the anti-infectives market segment

The prescription market segments, comprising cardiovascular, diabetes and anti-infective drugs, account for approximately 78% of the pharmaceutical market. The fastest growth (approximately 14.3%) will come from the over-the-counter (OTC) segment.

GSK is regarded as the market leader in Kenya with approximately a 12% market share, primarily as a result of previous strategies pursued in 2009, which reduced the price of key products by approximately 40%. Around 41% of all anti-infectives sold in pharmacies were licensed to GSK.

'GSK’s dominance in the overall market is largely attributable to its success in the anti-infectives market segment, a therapeutic segment which accounts for approximately 42% of all revenues generated in the Kenyan prescription market segment,' says Frost & Sullivan's healthcare team leader Ryan Lobban.

'The prices of Amoxil 500mg, Suprapen 500mg, and Floxapen 500mg are particularly competitive,' he says.

Kenya’s cardiovascular market is the most dominant and fastest-growing segment. It was valued at approximately $36m in 2012 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.4% between 2012 and 2019.

Meanwhile, the market for diabetes drugs was worth approximately $33.1m in 2012 and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 13.5%.

'Based on revenue segmentation, Nebilit 5mg, licensed to Menarini, was the top-selling cardiovascular product and accounted for approximately 7% of the revenues for prescription products sold,' added Lobban.

'Within the diabetes therapeutic segment analysed, Merck Serono’s Glucophage 500mg was the most popular product based on volume segmentation, accounting for approximately 19.8% of all oral hypoglycaemic tablets sold.'

Despite the high penetration of generic manufacturers within the overall industry, a key highlight of the study is the preference of private consumers for innovator-branded products.

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