Tackling Low Medication Supplies
and Disruptions in the Supply Chain
Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
Several factors should be taken into account in attempts to understand the real impact on the supply chain.
Numerous reasons for disruptions of the supply chain
A focus on collective action and multiple interventions simultaneously is needed.
Continuous planning and change during uncertainty
Things are constantly changing – by the day, hour, and minute. Each decision has a ripple effect on the supply chain, whether positive or negative.
There is an urgency associated with administering or providing many medications – particularly in the case of a pandemic.
Price and Cost
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has reported that manufacturers, such as Sandoz and Bayer Pharmaceuticals, have donated millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate and Resochin (medical grade chloroquine phosphate) to the stockpile.(1) Societal gains have taken priority over financial gains, but for how long? What remains unclear is how pricing regulation will change, given our current realities and into the future.
Stockpiling and hoarding
In general, stockpiling and hoarding reduce the amount of medications available for others to obtain. This could accelerate the occurrence of a potential drug shortage. Greater attention and evaluation is needed to determine the impact of stockpiling on access to medications across geographies.
Sustainability of interventions
How sustainable are our approaches and solutions? Are the processes temporary versus long term solutions or lasting interventions? If they are temporary, how long will they last, and what is next?
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1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS accepts donations of medicine to Strategic National Stockpile as possible treatments for COVID-19 patients. https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/03/29/hhs-accepts-donations-of-medicine-to-strategic-national-stockpile-as-possible-treatments-for-covid-19-patients.html