Resilient, creative, generous: all words that describe how Brantford’s Apotex Pharmachem and its employees stepped up in time of need last year.

The company’s Spalding Drive plant produced and donated thousands of bottles of medical-grade hand sanitizer and donated thousands of medical masks when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada.

Apotex is being celebrated by the Workforce Planning Board as one of the local businesses who have shown their employees are Workforce Heroes.

Vice-President and General Manager Jason Fischer knew the firm could play a role in ensuring health-care facilities had the supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they needed.

Apotex, Canada’s leading producer of generic drugs, donated 1,000 litres of sanitizer to the Brant Community Healthcare System and provided another 1,900 litres at cost. It also donated several thousand litres of sanitizer to hospitals, clinics, health care providers and seniors residences in Ontario and Quebec.

In addition, Apotex was able to source alternative PPE for their own staff, freeing the company up to donate 2,500 N95 masks, including 800 given to Brant hospitals, the City of Brantford and County of Brant.

The local plant produces active pharmaceutical ingredients in powder form, so making liquid sanitizer took the creativity and problem-solving skills of many employees.  Part of Apotex was retooled and a special packaging process set up to bottle the sanitizer, which met Health Canada’s strictest standards.

“Long hours were put in to get this product to the patients/end users,” Fischer said. “Several of our personnel in many departments volunteered and put in extra time to get this done.”

As a health-care company, Apotex’s employees understood the challenges faced by hospitals and frontline workers and wanted to help. That workers could help their own community was a bonus.

“There was an immense sense of pride and accomplishment across the organization to be able to react quickly to the need and deliver PPE that would have an immediate impact in our community and for the front-line health-care workers in the time of greatest need,” Fischer said.

He was impressed but not surprised employees stepped up.

“I have an excellent team here dedicated to the organization and to providing health-care products to patients.”

Visit Apotex Pharmachem’s website to learn more about the company.

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