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Acino Healthcare Group: Here to stay

Friday 2nd November 2018

John Norman, Regional Director English Speaking Africa shares his thoughts on what Acino means for South Africa.
John Norman, Regional Director English Speaking Africa shares his thoughts on what Acino means for South Africa.

Little over a year ago, in July 2017, Acino, a Swiss-based pharmaceutical company, acquired Litha Healthcare in South Africa. Operating in an emerging market, such as South Africa, provided Acino with the opportunity to invest locally and to bring a host of newly registered generic products into the market. To find out more about the company and its people, we spoke to John Norman, Regional Director English Speaking Africa.

One way of achieving this goal, is to introduce Acino to a broader SA community through its new website. Dedicated to approved and registered consumer products; it will provide access to information related to Acino SA itself, as well as the global organisation based in Switzerland. The website will help people find out more about the company behind the products and services.

Another goal is to expand its range of offerings in all business areas, within South Africa and the rest of Africa. Since the acquisition by Acino, the focus has shifted to creating more opportunities – both within the organisation and in the community.

This will be done by creating bigger business. Bigger business brings in more investment, and investment ultimately benefits everyone, as any benefit to the company can be seen as a benefit to the South African economy. The ultimate goal of any business is to be profitable, and to benefit the country’s economy as well. With that in mind, creating internal and external opportunities become imperative. As the business grows additional skills will become necessary, which will either be developed from within, or sourced from outside of the organisation.

“Our employees are really important to me. Employee engagement is one of my key objectives … I spend a lot of my time engaging employees, informing them on where we’re going, where we are and what is expected of them.”

Change is inevitable, and the changes in structure, ownership and management over the past year or so, could have had a negative impact on the company. At Acino, employee engagement has changed this into an opportunity for growth and improved understanding. Knowing and understanding customers, products and where the company is heading, forms the basis of altering the course a company takes. At the moment, healthcare in South Africa is moving towards a National Health Insurance format, and that is why Acino is gearing itself to helping this public-private partnership become a reality.

“Customers for us are the patients who use our products, the healthcare professionals who provide them, the pharmacies that dispense products and information to patients, and those warehousing and distributing our products.”

Acino forms narrow partnerships with all their customers, to ensure the quality of products and the services connected with them are of the highest standards. At the core of achieving these objectives and forging successful partnerships is a core set of values, comprising trust, commitment, empathy and courage. These values are what set Acino apart from other pharmaceutical companies:

“These core values bind us together and give us a common culture. When we face difficult times we fall back on these values and use them as our compass to guide us through.”

With such passion and dedication to back it up, Acino South Africa, will soon become a market-leader that is here to stay.