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Medicines Australia Reinforces Need For Continued Collaborative Commitment to Australia’s Medicine Supplies – REINFORCES FIVE CRITICAL PRIORITIES TO MANAGE SUPPLY

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Media Release

Medicines Australia has today reiterated the critical need for continued and transparent collaboration to support the ongoing and responsible management of Australia’s vital medicines supplies and proposes a ‘Five Critical Medicine Supply Priorities’ to enhance and extend supply processes in place.

“It is our priority, to ensure every Australian has access to their vital medicines across the nation during these challenging times – for those fighting COVID-19 in our hospitals and those in the community living with chronic and ongoing health conditions,” said Elizabeth de Somer, CEO Medicines Australia.

“We have been deeply concerned to hear reports of patients being unable to access their brands of medicines during this crisis. We want to reassure patients their medicines are our first priority and we are working extremely closely with Government  and those involved in Australia’s medicine supply chain to do everything we can to manage our supplies –  it’s our 24×7 focus to identify, manage and mitigate potential shortages,” Ms de Somer adds.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the global and Australian supply of medicines under pressure over the past month. Stockpiling and high demands for medicines together with ensuring the effective and efficient movement of medicines into and around the country has resulted in surges in certain medicines and management challenges for all involved.

Medicines Australia reinforces the following ‘Five Critical Medicine Supply Priorities’ to reinforce and extend medicine supply strategies in place for the immediate short-term (next two months) as elective surgery recommences and more Australians return to their more regular doctor interactions:

  1. Reinforce No Stockpiling or Panic Buying. Stockpiling or panic buying of medicines must not take place. This causes unnecessary surges and spikes in demand for medicine supplies – which can result in out of stocks if large orders are fulfilled.  This must be reinforced as elective surgery recommences and more regular interactions with healthcare professionals returns.
  2. Ensure Monthly Quantities Prescribed and Dispensed During COVID-19. It is important for medicines to be prescribed in quantities that cover a patient’s immediate needs, as we respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
  3. Prioritise the Movement and Distribution of Medicines. The movement of medicines into the country and distribution around our nation must be prioritised now. We thank the Government for their support in helping to bring medicines into the country with support on airfreight, and wholesalers who are moving medicines to pharmacies and hospitals. We thank pharmacists for managing dispensing pressure and helping with home delivery needs and we thank Australia Post for giving further home delivery support.
  4. Provide Clear Public Information on the Medicines Shortage Lists and Protocols to Manage Shortages. We have asked government to introduce greater clarity for patients to the lists of medicines it currently publishes. In addition, greater detail on what measures are implemented should a national shortage occur – so that healthcare professionals and patients clearly understand the comprehensive protocols in place and what they need to do.
  5. Encourage Patient Interactions with their Doctor and Pharmacist. We know patients are feeling anxious and actively encourage them to interact with their doctor and pharmacist to discuss their concerns with any of their medicines. Patients can also reach out directly to the manufacturer.

“It’s important now for everyone involved in the supply of medicines to Australians to continue work together to ensure access to our vital medicines is managed responsibly and equitably across the country,” adds Elizabeth de Somer.

“It is not the time for diversions or exercises that don’t bring solutions – it’s about getting on with it and ensuring we are directing all of our efforts to the task as a fully functioning, productive team.”

The Australian innovative pharmaceutical industry’s commitment to Australian patients is:

  • To responsibly manage the supply of medicines in the supply chain, to ensure medicines are equitably and safely distributed to our hospitals and the community.
  • To transparently and openly work with the government and the supply chain participants to identify areas of concern to pre-empt and mitigate shortages affecting patients.
  • To actively support clear, accurate and timely information to Australian patients, their carers and their families over the availability of their vital medicines to help allay concerns and reduce fear during this difficult period.
  • To actively support the healthcare professional community to ensure they are aware and understand supply challenges in a proactive and constructive manner.
  • To strengthen our supply chain capacity and resilience in response to the crisis.

Ends
More information – Natalie Wimmer – nwimmer@medaus.com.au – 0450 728 660

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