The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is disrupting everyday life around the world and imposing unprecedented stress on our health care system. Here are responses and resources from the perspective of the U.S. generics and biosimilars industry.
Industry Response to COVID-19 Presentation
Schematic and explanation of generic supply chain. Plus, how AAM members are rising to the challenge of COVID-19.
Blog Series on COVID-19
View blog from AAM Interim CEO Jeff Francer:
- AAM Interim CEO Jeff Francer on COVID-19
- Helping Patients and Families Meet Their Health Care Needs
- COVID-19: This Week’s Initiatives From the Generic and Biosimilars Industry
Frequently Asked Questions
How is the generic pharmaceutical industry responding?
AAM and its members are committed to meeting the health care needs of America’s patients. This includes working around the clock to ensure that health care workers on the front lines and pharmacies across the country are able to provide the medicines patients need. Member companies are partnering with health organizations and governments around the world to evaluate the use of currently available generic medicines for the treatment of patients with COVID-19. AAM will continue to work with our companies, government regulators and other stakeholders to ensure a steady supply of generic and biosimilar medicines during this public health emergency.
We are proud that reliable generic and biosimilar medicines play such an important role on the front lines of the war against COVID-19, both as the bridge to the vaccine and as continued ammunition in this difficult fight. The indispensability of our medicines was reinforced to us in November 2020 when AAM hosted a panel on
Treating COVID at our GRx+Biosims Conference featuring the perspective of physicians managing the pandemic from the bedside, to the system, to the macro governmental level. Alexandra (Alex) Pratt, M.D., Chair of the Department of Critical Care at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, explained,
Nearly everything that we used in the ICU was generic or biosimilar… generic sedatives, analgesics, steroids, vasoactives, anticoagulants, were all absolutely critical to the management of this pandemic. Patients would certainly have died if we did not have access to these medications. And we were very grateful that we never had a disruption in the supply of those medications.
How are AAM’s associate members and partner organizations in the nonprofit sector responding?
Direct Relief is providing personal protective equipment and essential medical items to health workers and delivering protective masks, exam gloves and isolation gowns to health care organizations in areas with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Fight the Fakes is heightening public awareness about criminals “capitaliz[ing] on people’s fears by advertising falsified treatments and vaccines and spreading rumours of potential cures.”
Dispensary of Hope began planning for supply chain interruptions several weeks ago, putting mechanisms in place in advance to assure a stocked product supply; supply chain impact research and contingency planning; and cross-training of essential functions for redundancy. "We are deeply grateful for the generous and long-standing support of AAM's member companies," says Scott Cornwell, the organization's Chief Supply Chain Officer.
Operation Smile is donating gloves, masks and ventilators to hospitals in Virginia. Activity in mission countries includes CPAP helmets for non-invasive ventilation to a hospital in Italy and partnering with an Indian health foundation and local governments in Mumbai and Durgapur to distribute food and personal hygiene items to 700 families.
Teva donated 6 million doses of medicine to U.S. hospitals by March 31, 2020 to meet the urgent demand for the medicine as an investigational target to treat COVID-19.
Updates and resources from Healthcare Ready, which works with public and private sectors to strengthen systems before, during and after disasters--may also be useful.
What are the most reliable sources on the U.S. response to coronavirus?
Please follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and its preparedness recommendations. Additionally, AARP provides information for older Americans, and Kaiser Health News and STAT offer specialized health reporting that the layperson can understand.
Should I fill up my prescription drugs?
Yes. Consumer Reports recommends: “Ask your doctor for a 90-day prescription and consider getting it delivered through the mail, which can save money and eliminate regular trips to the drugstore—where you might encounter people who are sick. Be sure to also ask your insurer if your plan offers coverage for an extended-day supply.” Note that while the wait at the pharmacy may be longer and demand for mail order prescriptions has increased, patients are currently able to access the generic medicines they need.
What is the long-term outlook for the pandemic?
The National Institutes of Health and others are working to develop innovative vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. As more research is done, the CDC will continue to be an excellent source for the latest guidelines on the clinical treatment and care for COVID-19. The pandemic is presenting the global health community with new challenges. Depending on the duration and scope, shortages could become an issue. We believe that a coordinated effort from government and industry may be necessary to diversify the pharmaceutical supply chain and therefore to mitigate risks that might befall one country or region.
Resources for Patients
National Institutes of Health
World Health Organization