Thousands of medicines are stuck in a decades-long backlog in the government's approval process - one of them a drug regarded as the only treatment for "suicide" headaches.

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) recently asked pharmaceutical companies to scrap all applications for drugs they no longer wanted to register, which has reduced the list of new drugs awaiting approval by 3,000 to around 5,100.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00.