NHS London has asked pharmaceutical suppliers to relax their medicine quota rules during the Olympics and Paralympics (27 July to 9 September). It is concerned that unusual demand may mean that there will be additional problems with getting medicines to people when they need them. The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, which represents large pharma suppliers, has circulated the request to its member companies and left it for them to decide.
Paul Gershlick, a Partner and Head of Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences at Matthew Arnold & Baldwin LLP, comments: “As was discussed at our recent seminar on the medicine supply chain shortages, quotas may be making the medicine supply chain problem worse rather than better. The change to demands during the Olympic and Paralympic period could make matters worse still. I just hope that suppliers take this into account and allow more drugs onto the market to avoid people going without.”
Unfortunately, the signs do not look promising. The ABPI’s chief executive, Stephen Whitehead, said: “Removing quotas at this time is not the answer; lifting restrictions on excessive orders from medicines traders who are exporting for profit would lead to shortages of some medicines, and it would put patients at risk.” There are concerns amongst suppliers that wholesalers may stockpile medicines during any time of relaxed quotas and export them after the Games are over.
To see the video of the seminar, at which Rt Hon Kevin Barron MP spoke, please click here: http://www.youtube.com/user/mablawuk?feature=results_main.