11 GSK Products and their Alternatives

GSK Nigeria Ltd Leaves the country
GSK Nigeria Ltd Leaves the country. Photo Credit: FT.

When Tomi Olusanya heard the news of the exit of GlaxoSmithKline from Nigeria, he was preparing to leave his work desk at the remote office from where he led the pharmacy operations at Wellahealth.

The pharmaceutical giant announced its decision to shut down operations in Nigeria shortly after the company’s shareholders asked the Federal Government to help salvage the company from the almost inevitable in their June 2023 AGM.

At the heart of the Wella Partner Program are over 2000+ pharmacies with nearly 200,000+ patients dependent on the business for their medications annually. Knowing that this exit would mark important changes in the prescription and retail pharmacy industry, Tomi sprung to action with his team.

The goal was simple. Develop small-bite learning content that explained active ingredients, discussed the GSK product in Nigeria, and shared alternatives with customers and the general public. These alternatives must have the same active ingredients to be recommended against existing GSK products to help the public adjust accordingly.


What is an active ingredient?

The active ingredient in a drug is the main component of that drug that enables it to “do what it says it will do”. According to the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care, It is the chemical compound in a drug that has an effect on the body.

To explain simply, I read tens of blogs to demystify active ingredients and explain them to the public. I found the response by the same organization above to be helpful

The active ingredient in a medicine enables the medicine to do what it claims. Examples of active ingredients are paracetamol in some pain relief medicines and atorvastatin in some cholesterol-lowering medicines.

Recommended read: Rosuvastatin Vs Atorvastatin 

Generic Switching

The conversation around generic switching came up a lot after this announcement. Generic switching involves the prescription of a drug with the same active-ingredient formula as a brand-name drug.  In the case of a GSK product, it would mean the prescription and/or dispensing of other drugs with the same active ingredients as the ones manufactured and/or distributed by GSK Nigeria.

Twitter users in the pharmaceutical industry began the conversation around Generic Switching. Here is what some of them said:

For Dr. Ikpeme Neto, Wellahealth will be looking more into generic switching:


This position is consistent with a tweet he shared in 2020 on the cost of managing diabetes with brand-name products and how generic switching would help reduce the burden:


Wefill Africa retweeted Aproko Pharmacist’s response to Frontline RX tweet, sharing some of the medications he’d advise patients using GSK Products to switch to as a result of the announcement:

GSK Products and their alternatives

It took approximately 6 hours for Tomi and his team at Wellahealth to compile the list of alternative brands to branded GSK products.


Here is the list:


Active Ingredient GSK Product Alternative Brand 1 Alternative Brand 2
Amoxicillin 500mg Amoxil Beecham 500mg Reichmox 500mg (Medreich) Emmox 500mg (Emzor)
Ampicillin-Cloxacillin 500mg Ampiclox Beecham Reichaclox 500mg (Medreich) Vitaclox 500mg (Vitabiotics)
Amoxicillin/Clavulanate Augmentin Fleming (Zentiva- Sanofi) Amoksiclav (Glek)
Dutasteride/Tamsulosin 0.5/0.4mg Duodart Dutasteride/Tamsulosin 0.5/0.4mg (Accord) Duostam (Pharmacy plus)
Dutasteride 0.5mg Avodart Dutasteride 0.5mg (Accord) Dutasteride 0.5mg (Milpharm)
Fluticasone (Spray) Avamys Nasal Spray Furamist spray (Cipla) FlutifloFT (Lupin)
Salbutamol (Spray) Ventolin Aeroline (Jewim) Vitabiotics Salbutamol (Vitabiotics)
Salmeterol/Fluticasone (Spray) Seretide Seroflo (Cipla) Saltrol HFA (Getz)
Clobetasol Dermovate Clobetasol (Actavis) Tempovate cream (PT. Supra Ferbindo Farma)
Levetiracetam Keppra Levitiracetam (Crescent) Levewell 500mg (Wellona Pharma)
Paroxetine Seroxat Paroxetine 20mg (Crescent) Paroxetine 20mg (Medreich)

Disclaimer: This is not an exhaustive list, as you should always speak to your attending pharmacy to discuss the alternative.

The departure of a big pharmaceutical company like GlaxoSmithKline Nigeria Limited may not be what Nigerians want to deal with at the moment. Patients are already seeing their essential medications and refills leave retail shelves as they become more difficult to stock. Other shelf regulars are becoming very expensive. Yet, bleak news like this might be an opportunity for local pharmaceutical product manufacturers and players to position and grow.

As Tomi thanked his teammates for the work they put in, he reminded them of the charge by the CEO to develop a solution to help doctors and pharmacists track medications that are readily available on community pharmacy shelves nationwide.

Want to join 200,000+ Nigerians enjoying Wellahealth products? You can start with a health plan here

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