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Pharmaceutical supply chains 'must be more robust'

10 February 2011

The government has urged pharmaceutical companies to ensure their supply chain operations are more "robust" and equipped to withstand unforeseen events.

In new guidance published by the Department of Health, drug manufacturers were advised to make sure "contingency arrangements" are in place to maintain supply where stock is exhausted.

The department's intervention follows the extreme weather conditions seen in the UK before Christmas, when pharmaceutical supply chains across the country suffered widespread disruption.

Its advice also recommended that companies in the sector undertake "customer audits or surveys to assess the performance of supply arrangements" when appropriate.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) called for improvements in the drug supply chain earlier this month.

Alex MacKinnon, director for RPS Scotland, described the current state of operations as "brittle" and claimed the supply chain "cannot flex with increases in demand or logistical challenges".

A survey conducted by the society found that 97 per cent of respondents believe there are structural weaknesses in the medicine supply chain.

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Categories: Commercial

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