Warwick Smith, Director General of the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA) and the British Biosimilars Association (BBA) said:
“Generic and biosimilar medicines manufacturers are working to ensure patients are able to access their medicines as normal notwithstanding the COVID-19 outbreak. Manufacturers typically hold significant supplies of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) required to make medicines, often six months’ supply or longer. This means that we do not anticipate general shortages of supply of prescription medicines in the short to medium term. However, we continue to assess the situation, working closely with the UK Government and other industry and official bodies, to ensure that we and they become aware of and are able to mitigate any disruption in supply that may occur.
“Our manufacturing plants are running. We very much welcome the decision of the Government to designate our production staff as key workers so that they do not have to stay at home to look after their children when schools are closed. The main issue remains disruption of supply chains either due to closed borders in Europe or elsewhere, or the reduction of long haul passenger flights on which medicines are frequently carried. We welcome the decision of the European Commission to prioritise transport lanes at borders for supply of medicines and we hope the UK will offer similar assurances. It is also critical that drivers are protected when they cross borders. We hope that other governments, including India, apply the same rules and procedures.
“As with other products, it is important that no-one involved in the supply, distribution, dispensing or use of medicines artificially increases demand by over-ordering. This will limit the ability of manufacturers and the supply chain to ensure that supplies are available for all patients.”