Consumer watchdog ACCC has granted authorisation for Medicines Australia (MA), the Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA) and their members to work together to manage the supply of essential medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Medicines Australia members are companies who invent, manufacture and supply medicines and vaccines in Australa while GBMA members deal with the production of generic and biosimilar medicines.
The medical groups will now be allowed to collaborate to identify and mitigate any medicine shortages or supply chain problems during the outbreak. They can also coordinate and prioritise medicine orders and supply requests; work on tenders and share information on medicine stocks, supply channels and opportunities so that they can ensure the increase of the amount of medicines manufactured in Australia.
“There is a clear public interest in allowing these companies to do all they can to ensure Australians, including those being treated for COVID-19, receive the medicines they need. We have worked to approve this interim authorisation urgently, so that these groups can get on with working together and with the state and federal governments on this vital issue,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said in a statement.
Medicines Australia is required to regularly update the ACCC on material decisions and agreements addressing COVID-19. ACCC said that the interim authorisation may be reviewed at any time while MA and GBMA members can opt out of any arrangement.
“Today’s authorisation underscores the importance of an integrated supply chain for our medicines and I thank the GBMA for working alongside us in addressing the challenges we are now facing as a result of COVID-19. It is essential that we pursue every possible strategy that supports the delivery of medicines into the hands of Australian patients. We must be focused and tireless in our effort,” said Medicines Australia CEO Elizabeth de Somer in a statement.
Dr Anna Lavelle, chair, Medicines Australia said that its members play a critical role in this “rapidly evolving health crisis”.
“Companies are working around the clock to monitor and assess supplies, at a local and global level, to ensure they can get to where they are needed,” added Dr Lavelle.
Medicines Australia and the GBMA said they are working closely with the Federal, State and Territory Governments and the local healthcare community “to protect Australians in these uncertain times”.