Starting a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company – Practical Guide

Interested in starting a pharmaceutical manufacturing business? If YES, here is how to start a pharmaceutical company with no money and no experience.


Do you know start your own pharmaceutical company? Since time immemorial, man has always placed a premium on his health and well being. From our forefathers who devised means, methods and materials, however crude, to help cure diseases and ward off illnesses; to the present day, where modern technological advances in medicine and health practices are ensuring high standard of living and age longevity .

At the centre of these strides, has been the discovery and synthesis of drugs to combat a variety of ailments and diseases. The case is no different in Africa. Especially when one considers the recent outbreaks of the Ebola and Lassa fevers, which galvanized the government and international health organizations into marshaling men and resources in combating the epidemics.

Starting a Pharmaceutical Company

With a growing population domiciled by a large youth base, an expanding economy as well as the need to provide affordable and quality healthcare, establishing a pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Nigeria and in other nations of the world commands favorable business indices.

The following guidelines can help the potential investor/manufacturer commence business:
How to start your own pharmaceutical sales company

Observe all the rules and obtain relevant certification. 

Licenses required to open a pharmaceutical company
To start a pharmaceutical manufacturing company, one must first and foremost be a registered pharmacist with the Pharmaceutical Certifying Board of your country. In lieu of this, the would-be investor must procure the services of a registered pharmacist, whose license can be employed for the purpose. In-depth knowledge of the workings, composition and effects/efficacy of drugs is critical, not only for the survival of the pharmaceutical manufacturing business but more importantly to safeguard the lives of end-users.

Gain Relevant Exposure and Experience.

To successfully start a pharmaceutical manufacturing company, the investor should intern at an existing pharmaceutical distribution company outfit that runs a drug manufacturing plant.

If possible, such an internship can be done at no cost to the outfit. The period will serve as a guide to witnessing standard operating procedures, sales and marketing strategies, business accounting and other critical aspects of the business. Also the would -be investor can fully be subsumed in the day-to-day running of the generic pharmaceutical company business, observe how decisions are made and the routes employed in making them.

In effect, the investor is exposed to the rigors of administering an existing pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, without having to commit funds to the venture.

Have lofty dreams but start small. 

Dilip Shanghvi, founder of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturing company in India,  Sun Pharma, began business in 1983, with staff strength of 2 marketers and a small manufacturing facility.

A number of options can be picked; a mini factory that focuses on one product line like pain relievers or entering into partnership with a contract manufacturer to produce a line for one product. This step is necessary to test the waters (market) and to gradually gain market acceptability and share. Have a Business plan that focuses on niche generic drugs that offer potential for growth.

Starting a pharmaceutical manufacturing  company and going immediately into competition with older industry players, in more popular patent drugs, could spell doom for the new start-up. This is because the markets for these type of drugs are usually saturated, hence it would require enormous resources and extensive marketing to establish a foothold in such markets.

So instead off with the production of anti-infectives (drugs administered for the treatment of communicable diseases), a drug manufacturing company could decide to focus on drugs that help in the treatment and containment of lifestyle diseases, especially as most African nations begin to grow a large middle class.

Drugs in this class include those for psychiatry, neurology and cardiovascular uses. The reasoning behind this strategy is that consumers, who desire to live longer, will more often than not, take such generic drugs, in order to boost their health and achieve longevity.

Develop a Robust Marketing and Sales Plan

A newly established pharmaceutical manufacturing company must devise ways and means, by which end users can be exposed to its drug offerings. This will often involve taking unconventional paths in finding  markets, obtaining agreement with hospitals and medical facilities, promotional trades and any other activity that will engender the sales of its products.

At this early stage, the pharmaceutical manufacturing company must also draw up a robust distribution network, which will ensure that its drugs are available at all times.

Plan for Location and Equipment

As the pharmaceutical manufacturing company gathers steam, as you evolve effective marketing and distribution networks, it becomes imperative that one keeps his focus on the big picture: transitioning into a large, profitable drug manufacturing outfit.

This will not happen by the wave of a magic wand. Rather the investor must save and plow back profits, into acquiring suitable and strategically located factory space, machinery and equipment.  Special consideration must also be acccorded to how raw materials will be sourced and be readily available, to support full time production.

In all, the success of any pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, and indeed any other business, will depend on factors such as the drive and willingness to take calculated risks, having an eye on the future trends that will shape the industry, cultivating excellent customer service and support and placing a premium on research and development.

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