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Bayer Announced Plans to Outsource Certain Components of its Pharmaceutical Business in Africa

The German company, Bayer (BAYGn.DE), will engage a third party for the distribution of its pharmaceutical products in four African markets, including Kenya. Bayer assures that the impact on employment will be minimal.

With 200 employees in the region, Bayer has confirmed that the outsourcing move aimed at Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Ghana will not affect its crop science division, which constitutes 90% of the business. Beginning in May, Bayer plans to delegate the warehousing, distribution, and sales representation responsibilities of its pharmaceutical products, including those for oncology and ophthalmology, to an undisclosed third-party company.

The company has not disclosed the number of jobs affected, stating that the identification of roles is an ongoing process. This strategic move aligns with the approach adopted by Britain’s GSK in late 2022, where it opted for a third-party distribution model for its medicines and vaccines in Kenya, leading to the closure of its commercial organization in the East African nation. Bayer AG, a German multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology giant, is headquartered in Leverkusen, operating in various business segments such as pharmaceuticals, consumer healthcare products, agricultural chemicals, seeds, and biotechnology products. The company is listed on the EURO STOXX 50 stock market index.

Founded in 1863 in Barmen, Bayer originated as a partnership between dye salesman Friedrich Bayer (1825–1880) and dyer Friedrich Weskott (1821–1876). Initially focusing on dye production, the company diversified its business due to the versatility of aniline chemistry. In 1899, Bayer introduced the compound acetylsalicylic acid, marketed under the trademarked name Aspirin. Aspirin holds a place on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. Notably, in 2020, it ranked as the 36th most frequently prescribed medication in the United States, with over 17 million prescriptions.