It’s not an obvious association, but Afrocentric, the listed BEE healthcare investment company that owns Medscheme, has quietly become the biggest dispenser of medicines by script volumes in the country. Through a deal with the department of health in 2018, the company’s pharmacy courier unit Pharmacy Direct now dispenses more than 1-million scripts a month in KwaZulu-Natal, through its agreement to supply chronic medicines to public collection points. At the same time, it’s leapt feet first into drug manufacturing with the deal to buy the 74% it did not own in Activo Health, a SA-based generics pharmaceutical manufacturing company that makes ARVs and over the counter products under the Plusssz range, among others. While manufacturing generics is not an obviously high-profit business, Afrocentric’s CFO Hannes Boonzaaier argues that in the health “value chain”, manufacturers are “still making good money”. But the company’s increasing reach in all aspects of the healthcare business ha...

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