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Cipla’s manufacturing facility reopens after looting incident

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As South Africa deals with the aftermath of the recent civil unrest and violent looting, Cipla’s manufacturing facility in Durban — which was unfortunately impacted during this turmoil — is ready to re-open its doors and resume operations.

Some media reports erroneously stated that the facility had burnt down, when it was in fact vandalised on 13 July 2021. Thankfully, none of the more than 500 Cipla staff working at this plant were injured during this incident. 

After the looting incident, Cipla implemented adequate contingency measures such as leveraging its global supply chain and other manufacturing sites, to ensure continuity of medicine supply, especially for key therapeutic areas such as antiretrovirals for people living with HIV. From a stock perspective, Cipla also had a good amount of buffer stock in its other distribution centres across the country, which helped to mitigate all possible supply disruptions. 

CEO of Cipla South Africa, Paul Miller (right) at the Durban facility, which is back in operation

CEO of Cipla South Africa, Paul Miller, said: “Cipla staff have displayed an indomitable spirit and worked tirelessly to ensure that we can resume operations as quickly as possible at this facility. We were also blessed with support from various other roleplayers in the local community who helped in the aftermath of this incident.

“Regardless of the circumstances, we are committed to delivering on our ethos of ‘caring for life’, and the quick turnaround time to get this site operational again is evidence of that,” said Miller. Cipla employed five contractors to fast-track the intensive clean-up operation and reparation process at this Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certified facility. 

Localised industry is one of the most effective stimulators of economic growth and job creation, and therefore, as a proudly South African pharmaceutical manufacturing company, Cipla focuses on an “Africa for Africa” strategy. Cipla’s footprint expands across the African continent: in addition to the facility in Durban, Cipla also has a factory in Johannesburg, and another manufacturing plant in Uganda. It aims to empower various regions with its own manufacturing capabilities and invests in upgrading technological capabilities at these plants to improve production capacity, drive digital innovation and ensure uninterrupted access for patients to quality, affordable medication. 

By actively creating employment and skills development opportunities, the result is more than just economic growth; it’s providing better health for patients and securing socioeconomic wellbeing for communities.

The manufacturing industry in particular stimulates more economic activity across society than any other sector. This globally recognised multiplier effect creates employment opportunities, demand for resources, investment, and development opportunities. This invaluable stimulus impact on economic growth is attributed to the many significant links between manufacturing and most other sectors in the economy.

Therefore, in addition to ensuring continuity of medicine supply, it was also critical for Cipla to resume operations as speedily as possible at the affected manufacturing facility. 

About Cipla:

Established in 1935, Cipla is a global pharmaceutical company focused on agile and sustainable growth, complex generics, and deepening portfolio in our home markets of India, South Africa, North America, and key regulated and emerging markets. Our strengths in the respiratory, antiretroviral, urology, cardiology, anti-infective and CNS segments are well known.

Our 46 manufacturing sites around the world produce 50+ dosage forms and 1 500+ products using cutting-edge technology platforms to cater to our 80+ markets. Cipla is ranked as the third-largest in pharma in India, the third-largest in the pharma private market in South Africa and is among the most dispensed generic players in the US.

For over eight decades, making a difference to patients has inspired every aspect of Cipla’s work. Our paradigm-changing offer of a triple antiretroviral therapy in HIV at less than a dollar a day in Africa in 2001 is widely acknowledged as having contributed to bringing inclusiveness, accessibility and affordability to the centre of the HIV movement.

As a responsible corporate citizen, Cipla’s humanitarian approach to healthcare in pursuit of its purpose of “Caring for Life” and deep-rooted community links wherever it is present make it a partner of choice to global health bodies, peers and all stakeholders.

For more, please visit Cipla, or click on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn.

About Cipla South Africa:

Cipla Medpro South Africa (Pty) Limited (Cipla Medpro) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cipla Limited, India (Cipla) and third-largest pharmaceutical company in the private sector in South Africa. Through Cipla’s ethos of “Caring for Life”, Cipla Medpro produces world-class medicines at affordable prices for the public and private sectors, advancing healthcare for all South Africans. 

For more information, visit 

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