Generics and Biosimilar Manufacturers of SA (GBMSA), formerly the National Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NAPM), has announced the election of Lorraine Keyser as their new Chair.

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. She is the first female to have been elected Chair of GBMSA since its inception 41 years ago.

“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 64%, Keyser believes that there is still significant room for growth. “In the USA and Europe, generics account for about 80% of all medicines dispensed,” said Keyser.

She added that for every 1% increase in generics usage in SA there is an annual saving of R30 million for patients or payers. “These funds could be ploughed back into the health system to assist in the quest for universal healthcare,” said 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 National Health Insurance (NHI), while on the other hand, 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,” said Keyser.

“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,” concluded Keyser.

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