Published On: Tue, Sep 20th, 2016

Generic Drug Makers Like Apotex Continue to Bring Competition to Marketplace

There has been a lot of news recently regarding drug pricing and access to affordable medications. From rising drug costs in the United States to a demand for increased prescription funding programs for seniors in Canada, the cost of medication continues to be a subject of interest.

One industry that over the years has worked to offer quality medications at a fraction of the cost is the generic pharmaceutical industry. By offering equivalent alternatives to costly brand-name drugs, generic drug makers have been able to meet the demands of patients living within tight budget constraints.  They’ve also provided a continued  perspective on how much medications actually cost to make and distribute.

In Canada, the generic pharmaceutical sector has experienced steady growth over the last decade.  Last year alone, more than 429 million prescriptions were filled with generic medicines, accounting for 68.6 percent of all prescriptions in the country.

Much of the generic drug industry’s growth can be attributed to its ability to offer affordable drugs consistently, while continuing to increase generic drug selection as patents on brand-name medications expire.  

According to a 2015 IMS Health data report, the average cost of a brand-name prescription in Canada is now $91.92, while the average cost of a generic drug is only $20.92.

The report also mentions that, “The average price of a brand-name prescription increased by more than 50 percent over the last 12 years … In comparison, Canadians now pay less for a generic prescription than they did in 2004”

In addition to offering affordable alternatives, Canada’s top generic drug manufacturers have continued to grow their operations and employ an increasing number of Canadians. In Ontario alone, the industry now employs more than 8,000 people, ranging from manufacturing floor workers to drug researchers.

Taken in combination, the three largest Canadian generic pharmaceutical companies account for more than 85 percent of the generic drug market in the country.

  1.   Apotex
photo/ wikimedia commons

photo/ wikimedia commons

Apotex is the country’s largest Canadian-owned pharmaceutical company. Established in 1974, over the last four decades, Apotex has grown to offer its pharmaceuticals in 115 countries and employ more than 10,000 people around the world.  The company has grown immensely since its two employee, 5,000 square foot start.

Apotex’s products have become synonymous with generic drugs in Canada, with its medicines offered in nearly every pharmacy and hospital in the country.  In fact, one out of every five prescriptions in the country is filled using an Apotex manufactured medicine.

According to the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association annual report, “Ontario-based Apotex is the largest research and development spender among all pharmaceutical companies in Canada, spending as much 18.3 percent of their sales revenue.”

In 2006, Apotex topped the annual list of the top 100 corporate R&D spenders in Canada, spending $183 million on R&D.

  1.   Teva

Toronto-based Teva was Canada’s first generic pharmaceutical manufacturer, opening their doors in 1965. Today, the company employs 1,300 Canadians and ships their medications to more than 60 countries around the world.

Teva manufactures a wide array of drugs that are used to fill more than 200,000 prescriptions across Canada.

  1.   Sandoz

Headquartered in Quebec, Sandoz is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacturing of injectable products. Originally founded in the 1980s under the name Sabex, Sandoz was rebranded in 2005 and has experienced steady growth. 

After a massive $100 million overall in 2009, Sandoz opened its new Boucherville facility, which also created 200 new jobs, in addition to the many jobs they already had in place for residents of Quebec.

Canada’s generic drug industry also happens to be a contributor to the country’s foreign GDP. Currently, the industry generates 40 percent of its sales volume from exporting made-in-Canada pharmaceuticals to other countries, primarily to the United States, which brings in more than $1 billion dollars for the Canadian economy.  

Author: Joe Woodard

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