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Apotex exec to chair Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association

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TORONTO — Jeff Watson, president of global generics at Apotex, has been elected as chairman of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA).

Jeff Watson

Jeff Watson

CGPA also said Monday that Larry MacGirr, chief operating officer of Pharmascience, has been elected as the association’s vice chairman.

“It is an honor to serve as chair of CGPA, particularly during this period of change in the Canadian prescription drug market,” Watson said in a statement. “We continue to face significant challenges from the pricing and regulatory changes that are occurring in the Canadian and global markets. The future of our industry’s presence in Canada is dependent on how successful we are in working cooperatively with the federal and provincial and territorial governments as we navigate the changes that are now occurring.”

CGPA’s focus will remain on working with Canada’s provinces and territories to ensure that the national pricing framework signed between the Council of Federation (CoF) and CGPA provides a stable, predictable pricing and reimbursement environment for generic drug manufacturers to continue to bring new, cost-saving medicines to the Canadian market.

“The pricing environment in Canada has changed dramatically over the past eight years. This has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in additional savings to our health-care system,” noted Watson. “These changes have, however, put significant strain on the generic pharmaceutical supply chain in Canada, including pharmacies, distributors and manufacturers.”

He added that key challenges remain for the industry in working with federal and international regulators to ensure that rapidly evolving regulatory requirements don’t threaten the supply of generic pharmaceuticals in the Canadian market and the industry’s ability to research, develop and manufacture products in Canada.

“Patient safety is of paramount importance,” he commented. “We must work with regulators to ensure that the sweeping changes being implemented in Canada and globally are done so in a manner that does not threaten patient access and safety.”

CGPA, too, will be focusing on ensuring that Canada is a viable market for the production and sale of biosimilar treatments, according to Watson. CGPA noted that biologics, now among the top-selling treatments in Canada, can be extremely costly for patients and payers., and clear rules for the approval and reimbursement of biosimilar products are needed for the sustainability of public and employer-sponsored drug plans, as well as to ensure that more Canadians can gain access to the treatments they need.

Watson joined Apotex in 1993 and, over the last 20 years, has held various positions within the company. He was appointed as president of global generics at Apotex earlier this month.

MacGirr has been with Pharmascience for the past four years. Before coming to the company, he spent 17 years in the over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and medical device businesses in the United States and Canada.

“The issue of drug shortages remains a priority for CGPA,” MacGirr stated. “There are many domestic and international factors that have an effect on the supply of pharmaceutical products, both brand and generic. CGPA will continue to play a leadership role in bringing stakeholders to the table to mitigate the impact of shortages on patients and health care professionals and, importantly, working to identify, address and overcome the root causes of shortages.”


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