Health-care operations across Canada were forced to drastically adapt during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and one industry leader believes they are now better for it. 

“I truly believe that we are in a better spot,” Rebecca McKillican, the chief executive officer of McKesson Canada, said in a TV interview on Tuesday.

“We’ve been able to take those lessons learned, and we’re serving Canadians better for it,” she stated.

McKillican noted that it was the collaboration between the health-care industry, manufacturers and the federal government, through the pandemic, which has now made the system more efficient.

McKesson is one of Canada’s largest pharmaceutical distributors, and played a key role in the nationwide distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

McKillican noted that the company provides medication to over 1,300 hospitals and 7,000 pharmacies across the country.

“We have had a steady supply of medications in this country,” she explained.  

While the company was successful in delivering prescriptions throughout the pandemic, McKillican said there are challenges facing the industry’s supply chains. 

One example, she said, is the significantly higher demand for cough and cold medication.

“It’s the untended consequences of many factors coming together for biopharma partners in predicting demand,” she stated. 

McKillican also pointed to other challenges facing the industry, including shortages in raw materials and cardboard, alongside labour. All these factors contribute to a backlog in the distribution of certain products, she explained. 

Despite these setbacks, McKillican forecasts the industry will improve in some of these areas with the help of advanced planning and relying on the sector’s external partnerships. 

“There’s never been better coordination and collaboration,” she stated.