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Published On: Thu, Apr 7th, 2016

Growth of generic companies like Apotex brings savings to patients and jobs to sector

The generic pharmaceutical industry has undergone widespread growth over the last five years. This is in part due to the ongoing ‘patent cliff’ that has seen the expiration of the intellectual patents on blockbuster drugs like Lipitor®, Plavix®, Seroquel® and Viagra®. The expiration of these drug patents has allowed the generic pharmaceutical industry to offer quality versions of the name brand drugs at reduced cost to consumers.

The global generics market generated revenues of approximately $162 billion with a growth of 9.3% in 2011, representing about 19% of generic market share in the international pharmaceutical market,” a Market Research Report stated. A recent report from UK-based Espicom Business Intelligence suggests, “the leading global generic drug markets will grow to $221 billion by 2016. It forecasts U.S. generic growth to rise to $104.1 billion by 2016.”

The greatest benefit of increased generic pharmaceutical manufacturing and marketization is reduced cost for consumers. “Prescription drugs are a key component of preventing and treating many illnesses, particularly chronic conditions such as heart disease and COPD that are so costly,” The Globe and Mail’s Andre Picard wrote in 2010, just before the patent cliff began taking effect. “It is essential that effective treatments be not only available, but affordable. For too long, we have obsessed about the former and not nearly enough about the latter.”

Rhoda Baer - Wikimedia

Rhoda Baer – Wikimedia

To capitalize on savings afforded by the increased number of generics, countries like the United States and Canada have started to implement policies around generic substitutions and reference pricing. “These policies are designed to ensure that drug plans pay only for the cheapest drug that works. For these policies to work [in Canada], it is important to get generics onto provincial formularies promptly,” Picard went on to write. In 2014, over 402 million prescriptions in Canada were filled using generic drugs, making up 67.1 percent of the market share.

With many small molecule drugs now available as generics, some focus has turned to a new category of expensive drugs, like complex biologics and the development of biosimilars. Take Canada’s largest Canadian-owned generic pharmaceutical company, Apotex, for example. As a leading generic pharmaceutical company, Apotex is working to bring even more significant savings to the healthcare system in Canada and abroad.

Last year, Business Insider wrote of Apotex’s research and development in the biosimilars market: “In December [2014] Apotex, a Canadian firm, said America’s Food & Drug Administration (FDA) had agreed to consider its biosimilar of Neulasta, a biologic made by Amgen, an American firm, which helps cancer patients fight infection. A study published in November by the RAND Corporation, a research institute, said that on current assumptions about how the FDA’s regulations will develop, biosimilars could save America’s health system a total of $44 billion over the coming decade.”

All of this also translates into longevity and demand for a wide range of skills and manpower to support generics into the future. A 2010 pharmaceutical industry employment in Canada report found that, “approximately 33% of direct employment by pharmaceutical manufacturers in Canada is employment in the generic pharmaceutical industry.”

This number has steadily grown as generic drug manufacturing has increased over the last five years.

A brief glance at the Careers section of the Apotex website for example, reveals that the company is on a hiring swing, poised to find the best and brightest to help reap the rewards of a growing market. Apotex Careers features job postings at Apotex facilities around the globe and happens to showcase the breadth of skills and knowledge needed in this sector. As the company’s hiring mandate states, an Apotex career “means joining a team committed to the absolute best…. to attract the finest in the field.”

The key point to realize is that generic pharmaceutical companies are not only driving growth and savings, but another likely positive is an increase in demand for the people needed to support that growth.

Author: Adrian Somers

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