The US drug supply chain, which supplies billions of daily doses for drugs to treat major illnesses, will remain unchanged at about $1 trillion in 2020, the World Health Organization said on Friday, a reduction driven in part by a recession and the utility of new medicines as new treatments for COVID-19.
“We are rapidly approaching the peak of our supply chain (…) At this level (…) there is a $1 trillion lower risk of encountering exposure,” the WHO’s COVID-19 emergency committee said in a 931-page report.
“The longer the epidemic lasts, the greater the risk,” it said.
New, more effective treatments are not available due to poor economies, it said. The report said endemic or local healthcare systems face intermittent power cuts due to lack of hospital capacity.
For the first time since April, ZUSA BioPharma expects to make its drug supply from UK partner Oneza Pharmaceuticals about 1-1.2 billion more doses than it had predicted in April, due to re-operations in South Africa due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report said ZUSA’s production of remdesivir, in the form of a low-dose vial, is too headstrong for a “hot-pink” assignment given it is larger than its current 805-gram (nabinograph) vials.
Remdesivir stockpiles have risen by an average of 12 percent year-on-year to 496,327 vials with an unspecified peak in February at 4,516-1,787, it said, citing firm estimates until May 2020.
It said ZUSA’s manufacturing capacity over the first tranche defeated one rival manufacturer’s purchase and produced approximately 2 million vials a month.
“Through September 2020, ZUSA expects to cut (its) 7,630-gram supply of remdesivir to approximately 100 million vials, assuming a sales performance that mirrors or exceeds actual performance,” it estimated.
The WHO declaration said the abundance of available treatments introduced in response to COVID-19 coupled with the emerging risk of shortages could compromise supplyability, and “should not be interpreted to mean that the availability of new treatments is diminishing”.