AmerisourceBergen and our global pharmaceutical healthcare businesses are monitoring the ongoing spread of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus.
As an active participant in the global pharmaceutical supply chain, we’re engaged with government and healthcare officials as these agencies and experts closely monitor the spread of COVID-19. We have business continuity plans that include our global workforce and our teams are in daily communications with manufacturers, monitoring inventory levels and customer purchasing behavior for any potential impact to the product supply chain.
We will continue to be highly engaged as the situation evolves on a day-to-day basis and will post updates here for our customers.
May 10, 2020: On May 1, 2020, the FDA granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Gilead’s remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19. Gilead has been working closely with the U.S. government on preparations to donate and distribute remdesivir across the country to treat critical COVID-19 patients, and will work with AmerisourceBergen as the sole distributor for the donated remdesivir.
The U.S. government is coordinating the distribution of remdesivir by determining how much drug each state will receive. Gilead and AmerisourceBergen are working under the guidance of the federal and state governments and state public health departments for the distribution of remdesivir. Neither Gilead nor AmerisourceBergen are deciding which hospitals will receive remdesivir.
For further information, please see HHS’ May 9, 2020 announcement, available at https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/05/09/hhs-ships-first-doses-of-donated-remdesivir-for-hospitalized-patients-with-covid-19.html.
Retail and specialty pharmacies are not eligible to receive donated remdesivir.
- For questions about the distribution of remdesivir, call the national remdesivir donation inquiry line at 877-987-4987.
- For information on clinical trials that are testing the use of remdesivir in COVID-19, please visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
- For additional medical information about remdesivir, please visit https://www.askgileadmedical.com/remdesivir/ or call 1-866-MEDI-GSI (1-866-633-4474) Monday – Friday, 6am – 4pm PT.
We will update this message as additional information becomes available.
April 2, 2020: Every partner in the pharmaceutical supply chain is doing their part to manage current patient needs and the long-term needs of the supply chain nationwide and globally. We are seeing the below factors influencing the supply chain:
- Early in the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., the pharmaceutical supply chain saw surge ordering across all classes of trade, including acute care, retail and physician classes of trade, due to both increased patient volume, PBMs allowing early script refills and longer script durations, and health systems’ execution of business continuity plans.
- As manufacturing hubs like China and India continue to experience the effects of a global pandemic, manufacturers are allocating inventory to pharmaceutical wholesalers to sustain the supply chain on a long-term basis.
- Travel bans across the globe are contributing to decreased capacity for air freight carriers. This primarily impacts product coming to the U.S. from overseas, but also impacts deliveries outside the continental U.S.
- Supply chain players continue to implement business continuity plans to protect the essential workers that support the healthcare supply chain, including manufacturing sites, packaging facilities, distribution centers and couriers, among others. The supply chain is supported by hundreds of thousands of human resources facing their own health and wellness concerns.
- Emerging experimental treatments for COVID-19 continue to be evaluated for efficacy to combat the severity of COVID-19. At the same, concerns are escalating about the ability to maintain treatment for those with chronic conditions treated with these therapies on an ongoing basis.
March 20, 2020: As of Friday, March 20, AmerisourceBergen has updated our active business continuity plans through the lens of this global pandemic. These plans are designed to help us continue operating critical business functions, such as processing customer orders, maintaining regulatory compliance and distributing goods and supplies to customers and patients.
In response to COVID-19, we are taking additional measures to protect our associates, our customers and the patients they serve, including:
- Safety of Courier Drivers: As our trusted partners, we have implemented several new policies with our courier drivers to ensure our mutual safety.
- Sanitation & Cleanliness Measures: Our distribution centers are taking extra measures for cleanliness given the volume of human health products that are processed through each facility. Distribution centers are using powerful EPA-approved disinfectants through electrostatic sprayers and standard spray canisters for 2-3 additional cleanings per day.
AmerisourceBergen’s sourcing teams are closely monitoring the supply chain for potential impacts to ensure we can support patients in need of treatment.
- We will continue to use our fair share allocation program, which creates safeguards on products in high demand to ensure stable availability.
- In order to maintain support for current and potential future COVID-19 patient treatment, AmerisourceBergen has proactively increased inventory on items related to COVID-19 treatment and supportive care, like IV fluids, generic injectables and related products for acute care providers, as well as essential medicines in other classes.
AmerisourceBergen operates a 24x7x365 Global Watch Center (GWC) to protect the safety and security of our associates and operations. The GWC proactively monitors for threats that may affect any of our global locations and serves as the centralized hub for responding to emergencies and crisis situations impacting AmerisourceBergen.
March 17, 2020: As of Monday, March 16, we have encouraged all office and computer-based associates to work from home. We have also asked our field-based sales teams to support their customers remotely. Your AmerisourceBergen representative can be reached by phone, email or video conference and they are ready and available to support your business as always.
Our sourcing teams continue to monitor ordering activity and inventory levels and create safeguards on products in high demand to ensure stable availability. In order to maintain support for current and potential future COVID-19 patient treatment, we have increased days-on-hand inventory of IV fluids, generic injectables and related products for acute care providers.
In terms of the global pharmaceutical supply chain, we have been notified of a small number of drug shortages due to COVID-19, and all impacted products have therapeutic alternatives available. We also continue to monitor the API export restrictions out of India. While the duration of the export restrictions is currently unknown, we don’t anticipate immediate impact to the supply chain.
March 10, 2020: As of March 9, 2020, AmerisourceBergen has issued guidance to our associates that they should avoid business travel through June 1, 2020. This includes meetings, conferences, tradeshows or events that require airline or train travel. We will also not host meetings, trainings, or events that require our partners to travel or gather in large groups and we have issued guidance limiting visitors to our locations worldwide. While we are deeply disappointed that we won’t be able to see our valued partners and customers in person at many of these events, we are a global healthcare organization and believe we have a responsibility to contribute to global efforts to contain and minimize the spread of COVID-19, as well as protect our associates, customers, the patients they serve and their families.
In terms of the global pharmaceutical supply chain, we continue to proactively solicit updates from manufacturers and there are no impacts since the below update provided on March 5. AmerisourceBergen’s product sourcing teams are diligently monitoring ordering activity and inventory levels, placing allocation-driven safeguards around products as necessary.
March 5, 2020: Pharmexcil, the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India, which represents all pharmaceutical manufacturers with a presence in India, has sent a formal request to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) asking them to revisit and amend their restrictions on the exportation of 26 APIs and formulations (as noted in our below March 4 update) so as to maintain the reputation of India as the “Pharmacy of the World” and fulfill contractual obligations for these products. Specifically, they are asking that the DGFT to “revisit the effective date of the notification and allow for the export of goods manufactured before March 3, 2020 and for the export of goods currently in ports as most of these drugs (e.g. vitamins and hormones) have limited shelf life of 18-24 months” and “examine the feasibility of exempting the "Drugs Manufactured for Export Purpose Onlv" from the restrictions” overall.
March 4, 2020: On March 3, India's Directorate General of Foreign Trade announced it was restricting 26 APIs and formulations until further notice. While this is certainly impactful to the pharmaceutical supply chain, we do not expect this to have an immediate impact on product availability. Typically, generics manufacturers keep between 6-8 months of finished goods and API on hand. Brand and specialty manufacturers are typically less dependent on operations in China and India for manufacturing. Additionally, AmerisourceBergen is increasing days-on-hand for IV fluids and some generic injectables to support our acute care customers. We will continue to place allocation-driven safeguards on products in high demand to ensure stable availability and responsible purchasing behavior.
March 2, 2020: Since our February 28 update (below) we have not received any further notifications from our supply chain partners regarding drug shortages. The below product has available alternatives that can be used by patients. At this time, there has been no significant impact to AmerisourceBergen’s operations or associates.
February 28, 2020: The FDA is reporting that an unidentified pharmaceutical manufacturer notified the agency of a shortage of a human health drug related to a site affected by COVID-19 and an issue with manufacturing an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) used in the drug. The FDA advises that the drug has other alternatives that can be used by patients. See more here.
February 27, 2020: As of February 27, 2020, we have not received any formal notifications from supply chain partners regarding drug shortages in light of the Coronavirus. FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Caccomo shared that the FDA has been in contact with manufacturers regarding 20 drugs, not specifically identified, at risk of shortage due to the outbreak. The agency contacted manufacturers of these drugs, and none reported an expected shortage due to the outbreak.
We will continue to update our customers as needed as the situation evolves. With questions, please contact your AmerisourceBergen representative.