Vienna, June 14, 2023 – The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the critical importance of resilient global supply chains. As the CEO Advisory Committee of the International Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (IGBA), we underscore the essential role of the off-patent pharmaceutical sector in ensuring that patients worldwide have equitable access to quality-assured, and affordable medicines.
The off-patent sector is at the forefront of advancing access to essential medicines for patients in every country. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our industry rapidly scaled up production to meet the increased demand from over-burdened health systems, despite the challenges posed by border closures, export and transportation restrictions, and the imperative of maintaining workforce safety.
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and turn our collective attention to pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPR), including through the Pandemic Accord and the UN High Level Meeting on PPR, we urge leaders to prioritize measures that will strengthen global supply chains to withstand future crises, while also better meeting ongoing care needs.
To achieve this goal, action is needed in the following areas:
- Establish collaborative platforms between governments, industry, international institutions and other stakeholders to enable supply of critical medicines during emergencies or disruptions, including information exchange to identify potential supply chain risks and adopt appropriate mitigation measures.
- Adopt policies that support continuous flow of medicines, medicines components and associated technologies across borders through enhanced international trade, including in crisis settings.
- Advance harmonization of regulatory requirements and practices to enable single global development of generic and biosimilar medicines. In the meantime, and where applicable, adopt regulatory reliance on existing assessments of trusted authorities to expedite equitable access.
- Establish sustainable procurement systems for quality-assured medicines, including utilizing criteria beyond price to enable resiliency of supply.
We call on all stakeholders to work collaboratively to ensure that patients have uninterrupted access to essential medicines, even in the face of crises.