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Aspen Pharmacare’s Cape Town-based subsidiary, Fine Chemicals Corporation, is so concerned about the risks posed by the region’s drought that it is investing in new infrastructure to enable it to run independently of the municipal water supply. Fine Chemicals makes active pharmaceutical ingredients at its Epping manufacturing plant, which it exports to 42 countries. It is the only narcotics active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturer in Africa, making products such as painkiller ingredients codeine phosphate and morphine sulphate. A forced shutdown would thus have a knock-on effect on Aspen’s pharmaceutical manufacturing operations. Cape Town is in the grip of the worst drought in a century. The municipality has imposed increasingly stringent water restrictions over the past two years in an effort to curb consumption and has warned residents and businesses that the city could run out of tap water by about April 21 if demand is not cut further. "We are taking this very seriously," ...

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