EBRD and EU support Tunisian generic pharmaceuticals manufacturer

By Stasha  Igrutinovic

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IPS provides a humanitarian response to the coronavirus  

An advisory project jointly supported by the EBRD and the European Union (EU) helped IPS, a pharmaceutical business in Tunisia, strengthen the management of its operations and secure a path towards sustainable growth.

Creating partnerships for growth

In 1993, pharmacist Dr Nabil Said founded one of the very first generic drug manufacturers in Tunisia: IPS. An emerging player in the industry, IPS progressively built strategic partnerships with international pharmaceutical companies to promote the sharing of knowledge and the transfer of medical technology. 

Learning from others’ expertise allowed IPS to develop medication under its own brand and reach important business milestones.

At a critical juncture in its development, IPS set a goal for broadening the scope of its activities and entering the European market, but it hit a roadblock. 

A rudimentary production management model hampered the company’s ability to grow in a sustainable fashion. The overconsumption of raw materials and other inefficiencies were undermining profitability. Through the Advice for Small Businesses initiative, the EBRD and the EU assigned IPS a consultant who helped the manufacturer implement a new IT system to streamline operations and reduce the risk of errors. 

An act of kindness

In the wake of the coronavirus, small businesses around the EBRD’s countries of operations are pulling off impressive feats, stepping up their own operations to help in any way they can. In Tunisia, IPS has followed suit and, in collaboration with the Tunisian Association of Generic Drugs and two other laboratories, has donated essential drugs to Tunisia’s Ministry of Health. 

“As a leading provider of generic medication used to treat coronavirus symptoms, we hope that we can make a meaningful contribution to the Ministry of Health’s efforts in the fight against the current pandemic and generate a positive social impact,” explains Dr Said. 

So far, 19 frontline medical centres have received the essential supplies that will help them treat – in addition to Covid-19 – chronic diseases, cancer and the management of kidney transplants. IPS has committed to providing further access to medicine with donations to other facilities, including those within municipalities and university hospitals.  

In Tunisia, the EBRD helps small businesses strengthen their knowhow with expert advisory services funded under the EU Initiative for Financial Inclusion.


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