Société d'Approvisionnement Pharmaceutique (SAPHAR)


In 2010 BIO approved its first investment in Niger, in the pharmaceutical sector. The project concerns a loan of  EUR 460,000 granted to SAPHAR (Société d’Approvisionnement pharmaceutique), a medicine distribution company operating throughout Niger. SAPHAR is ranked third in a market largely dominated by French enterprises. SAPHAR was formed in 1999 by two Niger nationals, one of whom, a pharmacist, directed the national medicine centre for several years. The enterprise works in the hospital and health centre segment where the other players are less present and offers a wide range of generic medicines. SAPHAR also has the special feature of supplying rural areas and public hospitals which are poorly supplied by the other players, more oriented towards private pharmacies. The company now offers 2,359 reference products, about 500 of which are generic. It distributes products and acts as adviser to health professionals. New imported medicines are analysed by the national laboratory of Niger. It is recognised by the WHO and carries out controls for the whole UEMOA zone. The Ministry of Health issues marketing and import authorisations. Niger's health requirements are enormous and largely unsatisfied. The public structure in charge of buying medicines for public bodies (hospitals, health centres) cannot meet the needs because it is under-financed. Building private enterprises such as SAPHAR enables public medical centres to buy medicines, including generic medicines, at prices which remain controlled by the State. Moreover, it is estimated that half (50%) of the medicines sold in Niger are smuggled. A project such as SAPHAR is a partial response to this pest as the injection of generic products onto the official market helps to reduce the average cost of medicines and therefore attract consumers of unofficial medicines. SAPHAR therefore helps to improve accessibility to faultless medicines and, as a corollary, to combat counterfeit medicines.

Development impacts

  • Private sector consolidation / innovation: there are many types drugs offered; in addition, one of the promoters is a pharmacist and applies very strict standards in terms of quality; Efficient State Quality Control System (WHO-referenced control laboratory); Saphar distributes in rural areas where there are no other actors.
  • Access to basic services and goods: improving the access to previously-inaccessible drugs and to fight contraband medicine. Saphar is focused on those hospitals and health centers in which the other actors are less present. SAPHAR's offer thus makes up for the shortcomings of the state structure in charge of purchases for the country.

In 2012 BIO also provided € 460 K of technical assistance to SAPHAR, focused on the introduction of a new software and the redefinition of the trade policy.

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  • Development impacts :

    • 1 — Private sector consolidation / innovation
    • 2 — Access to basic services and goods

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