The R1 billion high containment facility opened by Aspen Pharmacare at its Port Elizabeth plant is set to create about 500 jobs. The company currently has 2000 employees at the plant and 90% of these employees are from the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

The company is also in the process of establishing Training Academy to empower its employees with accredited qualification in pharmaceutical manufacture.

Trade and industry Minister Rob Davies, who opened the facility, has emphasised the importance of companies to reinvest in the country.

“Although this is a global company, it really is a company that values its South African identity, and brings back manufacturing capacity to the country, so that this particular facility becomes a very significant export platform,” Davies says.

The new facility will produce various oncology products used to treat intractable cancers. It will also produce a high potency molecule used to prevent organ rejection in organ transplant. Aspen Group Chief Executive Stephen Saad elaborates on the cost of the products.

“The oncology products are very expensive, that’s because a lot of them have new technology and are new chemical entities. In this case they are post-partum products; they are relatively affordable in terms of the costs. What is important is security of supply because high volumes go down, people don’t want to make a lot of volume products. Through this process we have been able to secure that supply line,” Saad explained.