UK government urges pharma to assess impact of coronavirus on supply chain

The government in the UK has told pharmaceutical businesses to examine the risk that coronavirus poses to the supply chain and retain any stockpiles from Brexit to mitigate shortages.

Warehouse working stockpiling medicines

The UK government has asked pharmaceutical suppliers to carry out risk assessments on the impact of Covid-19 (coronavirus) on their businesses, to relieve potential pressures on global supply chains.

As an extra precaution, companies have also been asked to retain existing stockpiles of medical supplies, compiled as a contingency measure ahead of the UK’s exit from the EU where possible.

The government has said that there are no current medicine shortages in the UK linked to the situation in China, but the UK government is taking action to help continue the uninterrupted supply of medicines to patients in the UK.

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said: “We are not aware of any current medicine shortages linked to this novel coronavirus, but we are putting in place common-sense measures as a precaution to help to ensure the uninterrupted supply of medicines to UK patients.

“We have world-class systems in place to prevent supply problems and we are working closely with industry and partners to prevent shortages and ensure the risks to patients are minimised.”

According to the government, it will work closely with the pharmaceutical industry and other partners to continually monitor the impact of coronavirus on the UK supply chain.

However, authorities have urged the public and National Health Service (NHS) not to stockpile, as this could aggravate problems elsewhere in the supply chain if they emerge.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is also working with NHS Supply Chain to retain a centralised stock of medical products.

The DHSC says it has well-established procedures to deal with medicine shortages and works closely with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the pharmaceutical industry, NHS England and others operating in the supply chain to help prevent shortages and ensure that the risks to patients are minimised when shortages do arise anywhere in the UK.

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