Generics and Biosimilar Manufacturers of SA (GBMSA) has announced the election of Lorraine Keyser as their new chair, the first woman to have been elected chair of the organisation since its inception 41 years ago.
Keyser, who is currently the country manager for global generics manufacturer, Dr Reddy’s, brings over 20 years of experience in the pharma manufacturing field to her role as chair.
“I am excited at the prospect of leading GBMSA and look forward to the opportunities to drive increased access to healthcare for more South Africans through greater use of generic medicines,” said Keyser.
While the use of generics in South Africa has risen to an impressive 64%, Keyser believes that there is still significant room for growth.
“In Europe, generics account for about 80% of all medicines dispensed”, she says, adding that for every 1% increase in generics usage in South Africa there is an annual saving of R30m for patients or payers.
“These funds could be ploughed back into the health system to assist in the quest for universal healthcare,” says Keyser.
Keyser’s appointment comes at a critical time in the country’s healthcare lifecycle. On the one hand there is a need for increased savings and efficiencies in order to implement a sustainable NHI, while on the other, biomedicine and other new technology threaten to seriously undermine health budgets both within the private and the public sectors.
“Just as generics have made traditional medicines more affordable, biosimilar medicines offer the potential for patients to enjoy access to these life-saving bio-therapies at a fraction of the cost of their branded counterparts. It is going to be up to the board of GBMSA to support manufacturers of these medicines and to advocate for the timeous registration of these products,” concludes Keyser.