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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

ACCC re-authorises Medicines Australia-GBMA collaboration to protect against medicines shortages

Health Industry Hub | December 13, 2021 |
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Pharma News: The ACCC has issued a final determination granting re-authorisation for arrangements which allow current and future members of Medicines Australia and the Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (the MA/GBMA Working Group) to continue to implement a coordinated strategy in relation to the supply of essential medicines and related devices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Re-authorisation is granted with a condition that requires Medicines Australia to report any meetings, discussions, developments or decisions between MA/GBMA Working Group members to the ACCC.

A form of this conduct has previously authorised since April 2020, however the conduct in the current application for re-authorisation is narrower in scope. In particular, MA/GBMA Working Group members will engage in the conduct only at the request of the Federal Government and/or a Federal Government Agency.

The ACCC considers that the conduct is likely to continue to result in public benefits by allowing the MA/GBMA Working Group, at the request of relevant Government agencies, to work together to address shortages in the supply of essential medicines and devices that arise as a result of COVID-19.

Elizabeth de Somer, CEO of Medicines Australia, said that the emergence of the Omicron variant demonstrates that disruption and shortage issues are far from over. 

“All Australian businesses have felt the pressure on their supply chains, including challenges with freight delays. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it remains critical that we can continue to work together for Australian patients to have access to the medicines they need.

“This ACCC authorisation allows us to continue to manage and minimise risks that could disrupt medicine supply to hospitals and patients,” said Ms de Somer. 

Marnie Peterson, CEO of the GBMA, added that the ACCC authorisation will help deliver uninterrupted and timely access to the medicines Australians need. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown disruption into everyone’s lives,” Ms Peterson said. “Behind the scenes, the Australian medicines industry has been working hard to protect Australians against global medicine supply chain shocks.”  

The ACCC has decided to grant re-authorisation with the reporting condition until 30 September 2022 for the sole purpose of ensuring the supply of essential medicines and related devices in response to issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medicines Australia and the GBMA both recently put into place respective Strategic Agreements with the Australian Government that will focus on timely access to innovative medicines, treatments and vaccines, and further strengthen protection for patients from medicine shortages.  


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