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EMA takes specific steps to reduce possible impact of Covid-19 on pharmaceutical supply chain in EU

Carmeliet Tine
Tine Carmeliet

Senior Associate


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12 March 2020

In a recent press release, the EMA announced that problems regarding the supply chain of medicines cannot be disregarded as the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to spread.

EMA has not (yet) received reports of current shortages or supply disruptions of medicines marketed in the EU due to the outbreak at this point. However, in a proactive effort to reduce possible shortages and interruptions as much as possible, the EMA will do the following:

  • Call together a new EU Executive Steering Group. The Steering group, composed of representatives from the European Commission, the Heads of Medicines Agencies, the EMA, the chairs of the Coordination groups for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures-Human (CMDh), and communication specialists, will be charged with identifying the threats posed by this new virus to medicines stocks in the EU. Additionally, they will look at further steps that can be taken to lessen the impact going forward.
  • Raise awareness among pharmaceutical companies. The EU pharmaceutical industry associations are asked to raise awareness among their members of the potential impact on the supply of medicines in the European Economic Area (EEA), and remind them of their obligation to report any possible shortages to the EU authorities. Industry stakeholders are receiving updates about Covid-19’s effects in a variety of ways, including the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) network on shortages.
  • Assess preparedness and resilience. Pharmaceutical industry associations are asked to analyse the readiness of their members for handling possible shortages or interruptions to key medicine supplies. The EMA also asks these organisations to assess the resistance of their members' supply chains.
  • Review all manufacturing information. In order to identify medicines that may be at risk, the EMA has begun going over the supply of all centrally authorised medicines, as well as those that are nationally authorised.