Pharmaceutical companies have committed to a R20 million fund to help rebuild and restock at least 84 pharmacies mainly in Kwazulu-Natal (KZN), ravaged during last month’s unrest and looting. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
Pharmaceutical companies have committed to a R20 million fund to help rebuild and restock at least 84 pharmacies mainly in Kwazulu-Natal (KZN), ravaged during last month’s unrest and looting. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

Big Pharma commits R20m to rebuild looted pharmacies

By Banele Ginindza Time of article published Aug 18, 2021

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Pharmaceutical companies have committed to a R20 million fund to help rebuild and restock at least 84 pharmacies mainly in Kwazulu-Natal (KZN), ravaged during last month’s unrest and looting.

The Independent Community Pharmacy Association (ICPA), has commissioned business rescue practitioners, Covid Business Rescue Assistance (Cobra) to do this.

The ICPA has so far raised about R8 million through donations from Aspen Pharmacare, Zydus Healthcare, Adcock Ingram, Bidvest, Discovery, Austell Pharmaceuticals and Transpharm.

Pharmacies that have applied for assistance with either rebuilding or restocking are mainly in areas like Ixopo, Esikhawini, Nongoma, Dalton, Umlazi, Umkomaas and Empangeni, all in KZN.

Adam Craker, the chief executive of IQbusiness, a founding member of Cobra, said, “The communities that rely on independent pharmacies across KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga for their life-saving medication and primary health care require immediate funding help, we have the network and expertise to facilitate this as soon as possible for the ICPA.”.

In addition to financial contributions, Cobra will provide business support and assistance to the 84 pharmacies, through its 100 partner organisations. These include management consultants, lawyers, financial advisers and IT experts.

Cobra opened the dedicated wing to help business owners and employers with immediate business needs as they count the cost of the recent violence.

“We are experiencing a significant surge in requests for assistance by distressed businesses in both the informal and formal sectors, the impact of the cycle of looting and crime on so many businesses has been catastrophic,” Craker said.

Cobra is South Africa’s largest non-profit organisation for distressed businesses, started in March 2020 by management consultancy IQbusiness, Schindlers Attorneys and turnaround experts Engaged Business Turnaround, as well as an ecosystem of 90 partner enterprises.

It was formed in response to the need to support SMME’s through the darkest months of lockdown and the ongoing economic crisis.

It has so far helped more than 320 businesses with direct assistance, which translates to more than 2 000 jobs saved.

The businesses saved operate across a diverse range of sectors, including the retail, automotive and restaurant industries.

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