The impact of production techniques on the competitiveness of the pharmaceutical manufacturing firms in Zimbabwe
Mandimika, Brian Paidamoyo
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The purpose of the study was to assess the effect of current production techniques on the competitiveness of pharmaceutical firms and pharmaceutical products in Zimbabwe and suggest ways in which these can be improved in order to enhance efficiency and competitiveness.The study was motivated by the considerable decline (of thirty-three percent) in contribution to GDP from pharmaceutical manufacturing. Local manufacturers have been producing only forty-seven percent of the local demand for medicine supply both by volume and value. Low production from local manufacturers has resulted in the growth in pharmaceutical imports and the country is slowly becoming a net importer of pharmaceutical products despite having local manufacturers.Previous studies established that the local manufactures were facing operational challenges that resulted in low capacity utilization in production while evidence on what actual factors that had an impact on production in Zimbabwe remained scarce. An action studywas conducted on the pharmaceutical manufacturers in Harare. Interview guides were used to collect data from twenty-two participants. The study adopted a qualitative approach and content analysis was used to analyse data to come up with the current production techniques and competitive strategies that the local manufacturers were currently using in production. Operational challenges that the manufacturers were facing were also noted. The study established that local manufacturers falling short on adopting international production techniques and hence lack WHO prequalification. The Zimbabwean pharmaceutical manufacturing companies are plagued with numerous challenges that are threatening their survival. Utilities, high overheads, inadequate capital and old equipment have been pointed out with great emphasis, with old equipment being identified as the major challenge. There were no clear pricing strategies as local manufacturers were focusing more on survival strategies, given the current economic conditions. The study also established that the industry is highly affected with unfavourable policies that included duty on raw materials while imported finished products were duty free. The study recommended that prohibitive legislations be removed and emphasized the need to compel donors to procure from locally manufacturing companies. Manufacturers were recommended to obtain WHO prequalification, implement a visible and effective competitive strategy and retool the industry for growth and competitiveness of the industry.