COVID-19 Outbreak in China Threatens Biopharma Industry’s Supply Chain

March 27, 2020

Data and analytics company GlobalData announced that there is a strain on the global biopharma industry’s supply chain due to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.

On March 26, 2020, GlobalData, a data and analytics company, announced that there is a strain on the global biopharma industry’s supply chain due to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.

According to a company press release, supply chains in China have dealt with quarantined workforces and delays in transporting materials amid the outbreak, with many facilities reportedly operating at between 50% and 80% capacity. Additionally, GlobalData revealed the pandemic may affect drugs made and marketed by biopharma companies such as AstraZeneca, Novartis, and Roche.

“Restrictions on pharmaceutical manufacturing and export will affect many products sold in the US, EU, and other markets,” said Fiona Barry, associate editor of PharmSource at GlobalData, in the press release. “Some of these drugs are manufactured in-house at the biopharma companies’ Chinese manufacturing sites-also known as ‘captive capacity’ manufacturing-while others are outsourced to [contract manufacturing organizations] with facilities in China.”

Drugs affected by COVID-19 include AstraZeneca’s Plendil (felodipine) for the treatment of angina, whose finished dose form is manufactured at AstraZeneca’s site in Wuxi, Jiangsu, China, and Pfizer’s antidepressant Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride), which is manufactured and packaged at Pfizer’s site in Dalian, Liaoning, China, the press release said.

Production of the affected drugs will not halt completely though, because many companies dual source their manufacturing, the press release said.

“It is unclear to what extent disruption in China will affect the world’s supply of pharmaceuticals, as other regions are increasing their production,” Barry said in the press release. “The Government of India has announced US$1.96 [billion] boost to domestic active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing driven by the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on Chinese supply chains.”

Source: Global Data