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Restructuring: GSK quits Kenya months after winding down operations in Nigeria

*GlaxoSmithKline, a British pharmaceutical multinational, announces its GSK business will move to a direct distribution model to supply medicines and vaccines through a third party, instead of having GSK commercial operations in Kenya any longer

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

In line with what appears to be global restructuring of the company’s business model,

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a British pharmaceutical multinational, has also quit Kenya four months after shutting down and exiting Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy.

The company, which is into production of prescription drugs and vaccines, is set to adopt a distributor-led model to supply the country, a similar approach adopted in Nigeria August 2023.

GSK also disclosed that the operations at Nairobi’s Industrial area plant would remain open under GSK’s stand-alone affiliate, Haleon, report said.

A local news outlet in Kenya also noted that the consumer healthcare venture deals in products like Sensodyne and Panadol.

GSK, July this year, spun off the consumer healthcare business and listed it separately as Haleon in shake-up to focus on the lucrative prescription drugs and vaccines business, which has brands, such as Augmentin, Zentel and Ventolin.

The company reportedly stated: “The production facility in Kenya is a Haleon facility, and is not the subject of the update that GSK gave in Kenya this week.

“We announced that for our GSK business, we would move to a direct distribution model.

“This means that instead of having a GSK commercial operation in the country we will supply our medicines and vaccines through a third party.”

It was learnt the exit of GSK from the North African country comes as the firm races to overhaul its global business in shifts that led to the spin-off the consumer health unit.

GSK turned down a £50 billion bid from Unilever for the unit at the end of last year, arguing that it undervalued the company, report said.

The review of the Kenya operations comes nearly five years after the pharmaceutical giant announced it was cutting back operations in Africa.

It stopped marketing medicines to healthcare professionals in 29 sub-Saharan African markets, but had continued running local operations in Kenya and Nigeria while retaining representative offices in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

In Kenya, GSK has made a bigger impact with its malaria and HIV/AIDS drugs and antibiotics such as Augmentin and Panadol.

The pharma created the groundbreaking malaria vaccine, Mosquirix, piloted in Kenya last year, aimed at taming deaths, especially among children.

Its exit follows disappointing sales for many regional multinational pharmaceutical companies in the face of competition from cheaper generics from India and locally manufactured medicines.

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