Former managing director of GlaxoSmithKline (Nigeria) Plc, Pharm Lekan Asuni, has explained why he parted ways with the multinational company.
In an exclusive interview with Pharmanews, Asuni who is also chairman, Association of Nigerian Representatives of Overseas Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NIROPHARM) declared that he decided to move on having stayed on for so long at GlaxoSmithKline.
“As you are aware, I was, until recently, the managing director of GSK. After spending 25 years of meritorious service, I decided it was time to pursue my personal aspiration.
“To further answer your second question, Yes, I have fulfilled that personal ambition by floating my own company – Lefas Pharmaceuticals – a research and development (R & D) based outfit that deals in innovative medicines,” he said.
According to the pharmacist, the vision behind the new initiative is to contribute towards making people healthier by ensuring that it abides by certain core value which includes transparency, integrity and empowerment.
At the moment, Lefas Pharmaceuticals have four major divisions namely pharmaceuticals, vaccines and biological, medical devices and public health department.
“As a new company, this is the way it is wired. Presently, we have a couple of local and foreign organisations that we are partnering with,” he noted.
On whether Lefas would equally be involved in importation, the founder said, “Yes! There will be some level of importation. But as much as possible, we want to see some kind of value addition to it. The public health unit has nothing to do with importation. That is more like the consulting arm.”
Asuni, a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (FPSN) remarked that his establishment goes beyond pharmaceuticals. He further added that it focuses more on public health issues where, in view of his experience, they hope to make that count.
He however explained that the medical devices, vaccines and biological division are areas of core pharmaceuticals which, over time, would be produced locally in the country.
When prodded on whether he has properly assessed the potential of the market before birthing Lefas Pharma, the former GSK helmsman giggled.
“Of course, we have assessed the market. Don’t forget that I have spent 25 years in the pharma industry. As a matter of fact, since I graduated, I have always been in the core pharmaceutical field. I have never veered out.
“In terms of understanding where the potential lies, I think we have done that through my experience. Yes, there are opportunities. But you know that in life, every choice comes with its risks. You need to weigh those opportunities carefully vis-a-vis so many other factors, competitions, social economic situation and so on,” he stressed.
In his opinion, Lefas Pharmaceuticals is quite optimistic of the potential in the health sector especially in the pharma industry of Nigeria.
“That is the mission we set for ourselves,” he declared.