The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Medicines network are preparing for the potential impact of COVID-19 on pharmaceutical supply chains in the EU.
Although there are no current reports of disruption, as the public health emergency develops, the effect cannot be excluded, the EMA says.
The first meeting of the EU executive steering group on shortages of medicines caused by major events has been organised. They will identify and co-ordinate EU-wide actions to protect patients when there is a risk of a supply shortage, and ensure consistent and transparent information is shared among healthcare professionals and patients.
The organisations say that although the purpose of the group is to address disruptions of pharmaceutical supplies, it is the responsibility of pharmaceutical companies to put in place appropriate resilience measures such as increasing stocks or dual sourcing.
The agency requests that the pharmaceutical industry associations raise awareness of the potential impact of quarantine measures in China and elsewhere on the supply of medicines, and to assess the preparedness of their members to prevent shortages.
While, in the short-term, any impacts will be limited, supply issues can be expected if lockdowns continue, or supply disruption due to export restrictions or other logistical problems