Committed to Cost-Effective Healthcare
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Eddie Clinton
Established in 1985 as a wholly Zimbabwean, privately-owned company, Varichem Pharmaceuticals manufactures and markets a wide range of quality general pharma and pharma-related products sold both locally and to Zimbabwe’s neighbouring countries.
Becoming the first indigenous African company to attain a World Health Organisation (WHO) prequalification in 2010, Varichem aim to address the underwhelming awareness of the critical need for reliable and cost-effective healthcare products that are often seriously lacking in the delivery of medical care in Zimbabwe, a country typically dominated by multinational pharma companies. “The entrance of Varichem into the healthcare business signalled a new era in Zimbabwe’s pharmaceutical market. In line with this, we have met the WHO prequalification quality standards at our manufacturing plant and two of our ARVs (Antiretroviral Drugs) – Stalanev 30 and Varivar – have also been prequalified,” explained the Company.
The attainment of the WHO prequalification has opened up opportunities in the international market for Varichem, including the opportunity to work with global non-profit organisations such as PEPFAR (The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), Clinton Foundation and other like-minded organisations.
Equipped with a vision to be the preferred supplier for pharma products in Zimbabwe, Varichem aims to create value for its shareholders through the provision of quality healthcare products and solutions for the people of Africa and beyond. Combined with a concerted focus on sustainability and health and safety, the Company endeavours to carry out operations in an environmentally friendly manner, resulting in minimal impact on the planet.
“Protection of the environment is critical to achieving long-term sustainability for the country and its citizens. Furthermore, we recognise the importance of ensuring we have the correct level of health and safety practices in place to ensure the wellbeing of our staff,” added the Company.
Right from inception, Varichem were welcomed into the pharma market, receiving encouraging support from both the public and private sectors. “Our presence in the Zimbabwean market has no doubt contributed to the availability of affordable and quality efficacious medicines; but it is an ongoing battle. Given the country’s previously reported shortage of drugs and its growing population, we have been a welcome face in helping those in poverty gain access to healthcare,” said the Company.
As a result of its ability to fulfil local demand, Varichem has established prosperous business relationships with regional buyers. Varichem added: “Now we are exporting our generic pharmaceuticals to Malawi, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland. From a humble export figure, our export capacity has increased many times in the past five years and this indicates growing confidence in our products from our regional customers.”
Building these supplier relationships, both regional and local, is a result of a team of hard-working employees who deliver excellent customer service day-in day-out. The Company highlighted: “We afford our current and prospective employees equal employment opportunities with due recognition being given to skill, ability and performance. We create a conducive working environment with proper training programmes which enable employees to perform their duties to a high standard.”
The provision of equal employment opportunities is just one vital component of Varichem’s growth strategy as it looks to increase its footprint on the continent and build stronger ties with international companies abroad.
The second component is corporate social investment, which the Company says is one of the cornerstones of the Varichem business philosophy. “Our focus is to identify worthwhile community needs – particularly those associated with our core healthcare business – where appropriate,” the Company concluded.
“This process is not only an integral part of our operating culture but also represents our investment in the society in which we operate; a society on which we ultimately depend for our growth and success.
“Above all, it reflects our belief that local business has a key role to play in helping Zimbabwe to cope with the increasing social challenges.”