Europe’s COVID-19 battle: Update on the supply of medicines to the patients that need them
Earlier today, EFPIA participated in the weekly call with Commissioner Kyriakides and Commissioner Breton together with representatives from across the medicines and medical devices supply chain.
EFPIA member companies remain focused on the vital need to secure continuity of supply of medicines to patients across Europe. Our members have enacted their pandemic preparedness plans for more than three months now and in a lot of cases this has meant that they have already increased capacity and been able to cope with the sudden exponential surge in demand for both COVID and non-COVID treatments.
We greatly appreciate the initiative from the European Commission to issue guidance on optimization of supply of medicines for COVID-19, urging Member States to remove export bans and avoid stockpiling which could lead to shortages elsewhere in the EU. The Commission is playing a key role in driving genuine cooperation across Member States, providing regulatory flexibility and removing measures that impact on manufacturing, supply and distribution to be able to ensure that patients across Europe get access to the medicines they need. We hope the guidance will be implemented in Member States, if not to the letter, at least in its intended spirit, to its full extent and we remain committed to play our part to ensure the safe supply of medicines.
We continue to monitor our supply chains and adapt to a rapidly evolving situation. In order to better plan manufacturing and ensure timely supply to those patients and countries in need, we need epidemiological data regarding the spread of COVID-19 and Member States data regarding hospitalization rates and projections on a country per country basis.
We are grateful that the EMA has confirmed they will put an Industry Single Point of Contact (I-SPOC) system in place. Our hope is this system translates in an actual 2-way communication channel which can contribute to avoid shortages. We stand ready to help in any way we can, providing constant information about stock, manufacturing capacity and market tensions in order to anticipate and pro-actively address any potential disruptions or shortages.
We will continue working with EU Institutions, Member States, Regulators and other actors in the medicines supply chain to ensure the supply of innovative medicines to the patients that need them, while we work tirelessly to discover and develop new diagnostics, vaccines and cures in the fight against COVID-19.