GSK exits Kenya months after withdrawing from Nigeria

By Oluwaseyi Lawal
The British pharmaceutical multinational, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), has withdrawn from Kenya, marking its departure just four months after exiting Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa. This move appears to be part of a global restructuring initiative for its business model.
GSK, known for producing prescription drugs and vaccines, is shifting towards a distributor-led model for supplying the country, mirroring the approach adopted in Nigeria back in August.
While GSK has exited the scene, the operational activities at the Nairobi Industrial Area plant are expected to continue under GSK’s stand-alone affiliate, Haleon. This consumer healthcare venture specializes in products such as Sensodyne and Panadol, according to local news sources in Kenya.
Notably, in July, GSK underwent a significant restructuring by spinning off its consumer healthcare business and listing it separately as Haleon. This strategic move aimed to focus more on the lucrative prescription drugs and vaccines business, featuring well-known brands like Augmentin, Zentel, and Ventolin.
“The production facility in Kenya is a Haleon facility, and is not the subject of the update that GSK gave in Kenya this week. We announced that for our GSK business, we would move to a direct distribution model. This means that instead of having a GSK commercial operation in the country we will supply our medicines and vaccines through a third party.”, GSK said.
GSK’s departure coincides with the company’s rapid efforts to revamp its global business, marked by strategic changes that include the spin-off of the consumer health unit.
The reassessment of operations in Kenya follows almost five years since the pharmaceutical giant disclosed its plans to scale down activities in Africa. During this period, it ceased marketing medicines to healthcare professionals in 29 sub-Saharan African markets. However, operations continued in Kenya and Nigeria, while representative offices were retained in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.


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