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 outside of China have generally kept working well. Production in China is beginning to come back on line. Our concerns for the future relate to the availability of production staff who may have to stay at home if they become unwell, or to look after their children when schools are closed. Critically, in an international industry, we are particularly concerned that the closure of borders, though done for the best of reasons, does not disrupt the smooth flow of medicines. The European Union has adopted policies to this effect and 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.
“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.”