CANADIAN GENERIC FIRM APOTEX JOINS GPIA
CANADIAN GENERIC FIRM APOTEX JOINS GPIA on Sept. 14, increasing the membership of the Generic Pharmaceutical Industry Association to 19 manufacturers and distributors and six suppliers and service firms. Apotex is a 19-year-old firm that calls itself Canada's largest generic manufacturer. The firm has annual sales estimated in the $185 mil. range ($240 mil. Canadian). Apotex is the second Canadian firm to join GPIA; Genpharm, Inc. is already a member. The head of Apotex, Bernard Sherman, is also the majority shareholder in Barr Labs. Barr is one of the more prominent U.S. generic firms not currently a member of GPIA. With the appointment of former Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association President Lew Engman as GPIA president, the generic trade association appears determined to make its own way. The association had pursued a merger with the National Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers until talks broke down earlier this year ("The Pink Sheet" March 22, T&G-1). GPIA Chairman William Haddad told a Sept. 15 press conference in Washington, D.C. that the move toward a merger is over for the time being. "All the members of GPIA that were members of NAPM remained as members of that association until it became clear that the merger would not be successful and then they withdrew." Haddad maintained that the existence of several associations representing the generic industry is not necessarily a problem: "I don't think there is anything wrong with having an NAPM or NPA [the National Pharmaceutical Alliance]." Zenith President John Klein, who was also at the Sept. 15 press conference, disagreed. The different trade associations make it difficult for FDA to try to address a unified industry, Klein maintained. Haddad and Klein appeared at the press conference to introduce Engman as the association's new president. Engman sat quietly between the GPIA chairman and board member and let them answer most of the questions. Engman, who had difficulties at PMA getting the association's board to agree with him on a legislative strategy for the Waxman/Hatch bill, faces an active board at GPIA. All 25 member firms are represented on the board. Describing the lively give-and-take of the board meetings, Haddad told the press conference that one husband-and-wife team sits on the board with one-half vote each and they often vote against each other. The association says it is currently reviewing its charter to make some procedural changes. For example, GPIA plans to add an open annual meeting as part of its yearly events. Engman says that he has been in contact with several firms about potential membership in GPIA. The law firm of Winston & Strawn, where Engman was a partner before joining GPIA, is outside counsel to Barr, among other companies.
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