6 March 2020
Canberra: Australia’s peak body for generic and biosimilar medicines is urgently working with its members and the Australian Government to minimise the disruption of any potential medicine shortages arising from the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Chair of the Generic and Biosimilar Medicine Association (GBMA), Mr Sylvain Vigneault, congratulated the Commonwealth Government for moving at a rapid pace to ensure Australia is as well prepared as any country can be, against the unpredictable economic and health impacts of the virus.
“Australia has a great health system and a world class supply chain of safe and affordable medicines,” Mr Vigneault said. “Australians need to know that our members are working around the clock to do what we can, where we can, to ensure all Australians can continue to access safe and affordable medicines.”
Mr Vigneault said the GBMA is working with other key industry stakeholders, to identify and mitigate potential medicine supply risks. With the largest volume percentage of medicines on the PBS being generic products, GBMA members are accelerating their internal processes, including working with global supply chains to secure supply for Australian patients.
GBMA also leads an industry-government working sub-group that focuses on the causes of medicine shortages and the supply chain. The group includes pharmaceutical manufacturers, wholesalers, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the Department of Health.
Mr Vigneault joins the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, to urge Australians not to ‘panic purchase’ and stockpile medicines.
“Disruptions to global supply chains are often out of our control but Australians should be reassured that their health and wellbeing is our priority,” he said.
“We are reassured by statements from Prime Minister and Minister for Health that Australia is exceptionally well prepared to manage this virus in a responsible and cautious way,” Mr Vigneault said.
GBMA advises Australians who are concerned about the availability of their medicines to check the TGA website link and to discuss their concerns with their pharmacist.
The GBMA is the national association representing companies that manufacture, supply and export generic and biosimilar medicines. GBMA represents all major generic medicine suppliers in Australia, accounting for more than 90% of all generic medicines dispensed in Australia. Members of GBMA ensure all Australians are offered high quality generic and biosimilar medicines, which provide affordable health outcomes that benefit all Australians. Members of GBMA take seriously their role in the responsible provision of affordable medicines in Australia, as stipulated in the National Medicines Policy. The generic and biosimilar medicines sector is a high value-add sector delivering significant health and economic benefits to the Australian public. The availability of generic medicines in this country helps to deliver:
– Timely access to affordable medicines;
– Substantial savings to the PBS;
– Thousands of highly skilled jobs; and
– Domestic manufacturing and annual exports of around $300 million.