South African drug makers may be asked to pay a "backlog fee" to help clear a pipeline of medicines waiting years for approval, according to a proposal being considered by a new industry regulator. Delays for hundreds of medicines have kept the latest treatments off South African shelves and have hampered the fight against cancer, heart disease and other illnesses, in a country that also has more people receiving anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs than anywhere else in the world. Besides improving access to life-saving medication, analysts say the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority’s (Sahpra’s) proposal could help boost revenue streams for companies competing in the $3.8bn-a-year market. "It’s the first time SA offers this and we would support a backlog fee, provided it is performance-driven," said Stavros Nicolaou, senior executive for strategic trade at Aspen Pharmacare. Sahpra wants to cut the backlog and allow the regulatory assessment of all products in an "achievable ...

Subscribe now to unlock this article.

Support BusinessLIVE’s award-winning journalism for R129 per month (digital access only).

There’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in SA. Our subscription packages now offer an ad-free experience for readers.

Cancel anytime.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.