Published: November 5, 2020
Securing Our Pharmaceutical Supply: A Made in Ontario Solution
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed serious vulnerabilities in the global supply chain for pharmaceuticals including drug shortages for critical in-demand products to treat the virus, as well as shortages of other commonly used medications.
It also presented significant challenges with foreign suppliers of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) in terms of availability, as a growing international protectionist sentiment surfaced in several countries where the release API of was curtailed beyond their own borders. To some extent, this is understandable. In times of crisis it is natural to hunker down and protect “one’s own.”
But this has also clearly amplified the need for a strong, domestic capability to safeguard the supply of medicines for Canadians, and to protect “our own”, even as we continue to export billions of dosages to support patients around the world.
As Canada’s largest pharmaceutical company, Apotex is a strategic asset that is well-placed to help the province reduce the risks inherent in a global supply chain, and move toward a path of increased resilience and greater self-sufficiency for key products.
We are the only fully integrated company comprised of several FDA and Health Canada approved manufacturing facilities based in Canada, including the country’s largest facility dedicated to manufacturing active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) which are responsible for the beneficial health effects experienced by patients who take medications.
Combined, our footprint enables us to quickly pivot in the case of emergencies, and/or partner with government to proactively stockpile medications and API.
Importantly, we are not alone in our focus to enhance the security of a strong pharmaceutical supply. A poll conducted by Angus Reid taken weeks ago, found 93% of Ontarians said they thought that it was very important for the government to have a secure supply of prescription medicines, while 96% of Ontario residents said that in light of the recent pandemic, it was also very (75%) or somewhat important (21%) to have a strong domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing presence.
For us, this isn’t about protectionism. It’s about recognizing the complexity of the global supply chain and reducing the impact of its inherent risks.