Drug supply chain I The COVID-19 has put the whole world in a difficult situation. The countries under lockdown are facing supply chain fiascos, particularly the Healthcare industry. As drug supply is crucial for fighting with this disease, the situation calls for appropriate measures to be taken with collaboration of Governments, regulatory authorities, and pharma companies in these Perilous Times. Amidst this crisis, many organizations are taking proactive measures to fight this disease one of them being the European Medical Agency (EMA) to assess and manage the disruption in the supply chain caused by the COVID-19.
The EMA measures
The EMA has ensured that it will closely observe the supply chain and take action in case of shortages of medicine, inform the healthcare professionals for time management.
The institution also highlights that meeting with the increasing supply should also be ensured by the medical companies by increasing their production capacity, educating about the impacts of the drug supply chain because of quarantine.
The strict lockdowns and quarantine measures in several countries have given the international market an economic shock. Although COVID-19 is indeed a serious issue, the lockdowns can cause other medical problems and shortages of medicines that might experience a disruption in their supply. Over the years, medical pharmaceutical manufacturers have majorly relied on countries like China and India for the supply of APIs (Active pharmaceutical ingredients). APIs are the basic chemical elements needed to develop all other drugs like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, acarbose, HIV medications, penicillin, and other antibiotics that are used to treat and cure different diseases.
There is a reason that manufacturers form the USA and other developed countries depend on China and India to outsource API. Partly because of the strict regulations within the country held by regulatory authorities in their own countries. But since the strict lockdown and factory shutdown in these areas, the supply of these critical elements is threatened massively.
Moreover, protective gear like respirators and face masks are also majorly produced by Chinese companies which upon the disruption have again started increasing their production capacity in the wake of this rising demand. This situation is likely to cause a shortage of certain medicines in the areas needed the most because of the supply of certain API would be impossible. It would make the situation worse with the existing health crisis of the Coronavirus.
The COVID-19 crisis has caused great havoc in the world but also highlighted the grey areas and shortcomings of the medical industry’s supply chain. With the collaboration of the private companies and governmental regulatory authorities, a sustainable, robust supply chain should be formed to ensure the global supply of effective and affordable medicine and avoid the future health crisis because learning from the past and proactively planning for the future is the only hope of fighting COVID-19 and other diseases to come.