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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Management of Australia’s vital medicines supplies during COVID-19

Health Industry Hub | April 27, 2020 |

Pharma News: Medicines Australia has today reiterated the critical need for continued and transparent collaboration to support the ongoing and responsible management of Australia’s vital medicines supplies and proposes a ‘Five Critical Medicine Supply Priorities’ to enhance and extend supply processes in place.

“It is our priority, to ensure every Australian has access to their vital medicines across the nation during these challenging times – for those fighting COVID-19 in our hospitals and those in the community living with chronic and ongoing health conditions,” said Elizabeth de Somer, CEO Medicines Australia.

“We have been deeply concerned to hear reports of patients being unable to access their brands of medicines during this crisis. We want to reassure patients their medicines are our first priority and we are working extremely closely with Government and those involved in Australia’s medicine supply chain to do everything we can to manage our supplies – it’s our 24×7 focus to identify, manage and mitigate potential shortages,” Ms de Somer added.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the global and Australian supply of medicines under pressure over the past month. Stockpiling and high demands for medicines together with ensuring the effective and efficient movement of medicines into and around the country has resulted in surges in certain medicines and management challenges for all involved.

Medicines Australia reinforces the following ‘Five Critical Medicine Supply Priorities’ to reinforce and extend medicine supply strategies in place for the immediate short-term (next two months) as elective surgery recommences and more Australians return to their more regular doctor interactions:

  1. Reinforce No Stockpiling or Panic Buying. Stockpiling or panic buying of medicines must not take place. This causes unnecessary surges and spikes in demand for medicine supplies – which can result in out of stocks if large orders are fulfilled. This must be reinforced as elective surgery recommences and more regular interactions with healthcare professionals returns.
  2. Ensure Monthly Quantities Prescribed and Dispensed During COVID-19. It is important for medicines to be prescribed in quantities that cover a patient’s immediate needs, as we respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
  3. Prioritise the Movement and Distribution of Medicines. The movement of medicines into the country and distribution around our nation must be prioritised now. We thank the Government for their support in helping to bring medicines into the country with support on airfreight, and wholesalers who are moving medicines to pharmacies and hospitals. We thank pharmacists for managing dispensing pressure and helping with home delivery needs and we
    thank Australia Post for giving further home delivery support.
  4. Provide Clear Public Information on the Medicines Shortage Lists and Protocols to Manage Shortages. We have asked government to introduce greater clarity for patients to the lists of medicines it currently publishes. In addition, greater detail on what measures are implemented should a national shortage occur – so that healthcare professionals and patients clearly understand the comprehensive protocols in place and what they need to do.
  5. Encourage Patient Interactions with their Doctor and Pharmacist. We know patients are feeling anxious and actively encourage them to interact with their doctor and pharmacist to discuss their concerns with any of their medicines. Patients can also reach out directly to the manufacturer.

“It’s important now for everyone involved in the supply of medicines to Australians to continue work together to ensure access to our vital medicines is managed responsibly and equitably across the country,” adds Elizabeth de Somer.

“It is not the time for diversions or exercises that don’t bring solutions – it’s about getting on with it and ensuring we are directing all of our efforts to the task as a fully functioning, productive team.”

You may also like PRIME Awards 2020 call for entries – the only awards program dedicated to recognising excellence within Australian healthcare communications, is now open for entries.


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