Industry Responds to International Trade Committee’s Recommendations

July 29, 2020
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

ABPI has issued its response to the recently published report and recommendations from the International Trade Committee on the impacts of COVID-19 on international trade.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has issued its response to the recently published report and recommendations from the International Trade Committee on the impacts of COVID-19 on international trade.

In the report, the committee has found that supply chains in critical sectors, such as medicines, have largely held up despite spikes in demand, disruptions to production and freight, and export bans that have occurred during the pandemic. However, the report also emphasizes the need for stock replenishment ahead of any potential secondary pandemic wave and has recommended the United Kingdom government work with the pharma industry to ensure replenishment happens.

“During the pandemic pharmaceutical companies have been working around the clock researching and developing new treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, as well as making sure that medicines continue to reach the patients who need them. We are pleased that this work has been recognized by the committee,” said Richard Torbett, ABPI’s chief executive, in a July 29, 2020 press release. “Global supply chains have held up remarkably well during the pandemic, so we support the committee’s conclusion that onshoring older medicines is not the way forward. To increase future resilience, we need a system which combines UK manufacturing of some important medicines, with a diversity of global supply options and targeted stockpiling measures.”

Furthermore, the committee has recommended that the UK government considers adjusting the provisions on intellectual property to allow for compulsory licensing of COVID-19 therapeutics or vaccines. The committee has made this recommendation to ensure any potential treatments are made available as quickly, widely, and cheaply as possible, it stated.

“We are extremely disappointed in the recommendation to consider compulsory licensing-the seizure of new research,” added Torbett in the press release. “This is unnecessary and would completely undermine the system for developing new medicines, including those for the coronavirus. It would send a hugely negative signal to scientists and would dent Britain’s ambition to become a science superpower.”

Sources: ABPIUK Parliament