Johannesburg, 1 July 2019: Former chief director in the national Department of Health, Gavin Steel, has been appointed as GM of Eurolab’s Aseptic Services Unit (ASU). Eurolab is South Africa’s largest generic oncology company with a strategic focus on introducing new cancer treatments and technologies into South Africa at affordable rates.
Steel is charged with setting up an international best practice facility for the mixing of chemotherapy and introducing innovative technology for better access to oncology care in South Africa. Making novel therapeutic medicines available, including Advanced Therapeutic Medicines (ATMs), forms part of his mandate at Eurolab.
Eurolab Group CEO Lynne Du Toit says, “Gavin has an in-depth understanding of the pharmaceutical sector in South Africa and internationally as well as considerable experience in health systems strengthening, clinical trials, making quality medicines more affordable and identifying emerging health technologies. He will be a valuable resource as Eurolab’s strategy to offer a whole-of-cancer solution from diagnosis through treatment gathers momentum.”
Steel’s career spans all aspects of healthcare regulation including pricing regulations, ethics and health technology assessments. He is also an experienced technical specialist in disciplines such as evidence-based medicine, medicines safety, clinical pharmacokinetics, pharmacoeconomics and adherence to long term therapies.
In his previous role in the national Department of Health, Steel headed up sector-wide procurement and then human resources for health. He has served on and chaired a range of committees including the Pricing Committee, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, the Pharmacy Council, the Clinical Trials Committee and the National Central Drug Committee. He also chaired the HIV vaccine regulatory process and has served as a World Health Organisation advisor.
As well as heading up Eurolab’s ASU, he will also provide strategic counsel to other areas of the Eurolab business. Du Toit says that, “Gavin was instrumental in establishing the package of care for oncology in South Africa – medicines and treatment protocols – during his time with the Department of Health.”
“Oncology medicines are usually prescribed according to the body surface area of the patient,” says Steel. “After filling an infusion bag for a patient, there is often oncology medicine left over. This residual dose is typically discarded. Given that some oncology treatments cost thousands of Rands per millilitre, we are now introducing international best practice mixing efficiencies allowing extra medicine to be pooled and used to treat more patients.
“Innovation in the mixing of chemotherapy has been rapidly evolving in developed nations with countries like the United Kingdom now implementing the same mixing efficiencies that we will offer through the Eurolab ASU in their National Health Insurance system.
“The ASU also allows us to ensure complete sterility of the product, avoid medication errors and trace medicine across the supply chain to ensure quality – and patient care – is not compromised.”
Says Du Toit, “Having brought Gamma Knife radiosurgery technology for brain, head and neck tumours to South Africa through a partnership with Netcare’s Milpark Hospital in 2017, the Aseptic Services Unit represents another significant milestone for Eurolab in raising the bar for oncology care in South Africa.”
Eurolab is the largest generic oncology company in South Africa and one of the most innovative in cancer management, including treatment therapies and technologies. Founded in 2011, it began as a company supplying generic oncology medications but quickly grew to become one of South Africa’s most innovative oncology companies offering a range of products and services through four main channels:
- Eurolab products (generic oncology medications)
- Gamma Knife SA (radiosurgery technology) and
- Eurolab Aseptic Unit (ASU) (sterile mixing of cancer IV medicines and cGMP sterile manufacturing)
- Oncolab Cellular (gene sequencing machine/ diagnostic tool).