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Q&A: Opportunities and challenges facing the generics industry

Drug Store News sat down with Camber Pharmaceuticals president Kon Ostaficiuk to talk about how the company is meeting the challenges in the generics industry to better serve retailers.

Drug Store News: Can you describe the opportunities for the generics industry?

Kon Ostaficiuk: History has dictated that vendors jump at opportunities to supply product to major customers without knowing if they can actually manufacture and supply the required product to the retail chain, wholesaler, distributor, etc. “Failure to supply” and other penalties have made suppliers be a little more aware of possibilities of losing any or all profits, if contracted and awarded product demands are not met. Manufacturers must be aware of shipping deadlines, and the fact that batches actually fail stability testing and could also trigger payments collected by customers based on contracts.

DSN: What roadblocks are generics companies facing?

KO: There are fewer opportunities for potential customers and sales with all of the consolidation in the industry. There is increasing competition causing decreasing profits — less income to develop new ANDAs; and increasing costs associated with getting future products approved — slower approvals.

DSN: How does Camber combat increased competition?

KO: We stay the course that has built Camber with the support of our parent company Hetero Drugs. Camber was built on selling commoditized pharmaceuticals. Hetero Drugs built their business as an API manufacturer and sold many of its API’s to multiple generic “finished dosage” manufacturers. Camber, in turn, launched a lot of the same molecules that we already manufactured the API for, and therefore are very familiar with having a dozen competitors on each of those molecules collectively. We were fortunate to have knowledge of the customer base and the generic pharmaceutical landscape, where our associates had long-term relationships with customers built on trust and value provided.

DSN: What role do specialty pharmaceuticals play in the market?

KO: For Camber the role of specialty pharmaceuticals is minor right now, however, we do have several in the pipeline. Our main focus is to compete with the other top generic companies and make sure we continue to grow our business based on opportunities created by delivery of a quality FDA-approved product that is affordably priced. Service, transparency, communication and relationships built over the last 10 years will ensure that we are one of the larger generic manufacturers in the years to come.

DSN: Can you discuss future new product launches?

KO: Hetero Drugs, as well as our associate company Ascent Pharmaceuticals, has over 75 molecules in various stages of development. Camber hopes to introduce 25 to 50 new ANDA’s annually.

DSN: Name the key factors for success in the generics industry?

KO: Since quality is a given, service, pricing, transparency and communication will be the key factors for companies to be successful. The generic companies that are vertically integrated and have a robust pipeline will prevail. A company that has the proper financial backing and continues to launch new items will be one of the most sought-after trading partners for the customer base.
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