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CGPA / Biosimilars Canada Statement on COVID-19 and the Supply and Distribution of Generic and Biosimilar Prescription Medicines in Canada

Toronto, April 1, 2020 – The following is a statement from Jim Keon, President of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) and Biosimilars Canada on COVID-19:

“The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) and Biosimilars Canada continue to work closely with Health Canada, member companies and key stakeholders in the pharmaceutical supply chain to help ensure that Canadian patients continue to have access to high-quality generic and biosimilar medicines.

There have been some reports of demand-related shortages for specific medicines in some Canadian pharmacies due to the pandemic. CGPA and Biosimilars Canada are supportive of actions taken by provincial governments in Canada to limit pharmacy dispensing frequency to help address this issue. Health Canada also advised Canadians on March 30, 2020 that buying more medicine than usual can lead to local drug shortages.

Manufacturers are also in contact with Health Canada and our partners in the pharmaceutical supply chain to monitor changes to demand for specific medicines so that production levels can be adjusted.

Member companies of the CGPA and Biosimilars Canada continue to closely monitor their orders and inventories, and are working with pharmaceutical distributors and Canadian pharmacies to help ensure the continued and equitable distribution of generic and biosimilar medicines throughout the Canadian pharmaceutical supply chain.

Pharmaceutical companies in Canada are required to report all drug shortages and anticipated drugs shortages to Health Canada, and post related information on the Canadian Drug Shortage website,

The CGPA, Biosimilars Canada and their member companies are working with the federal and provincial governments, and our international partners, to mitigate the potential for shortages in Canada.

Significant reductions in global air and ocean freight capacity and skyrocketing transportation costs have become major concerns for the global generic and biosimilar medicines industries. Generic and biosimilar medicines and medicines manufacturing inputs must be allocated priority air and ocean freight space at predictable and reasonable rates in order to avoid disruptions in supply.

The CGPA welcomed recent statements from G20 Leaders and G20 Trade and Investment Ministers that provide a firm commitment for countries to work together to facilitate international trade and coordinate responses in order to avoid unnecessary interference and delays with global supply chains for essential products.

Global cooperation is essential to maximize production levels for medicines in all countries and will require engagement and coordinated action by governments and industry.”

About the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association

The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) represents Canada’s generic pharmaceutical industry. The industry plays an important role in controlling health-care costs in Canada. Generic drugs are dispensed to fill more than 76 percent of all prescriptions but account for account for less than 22 percent of the $41.5-billion Canadians spend annually on prescription medicines.

For more information, please contact :

Jeff Connell,
Vice President, Corporate Affairs

Tel: (647) 274-3379