Medicines industry working to minimise medicine supply shortages

22 July 2022: Medicines Australia and the Generic and Biosimilars Medicines Association (GBMA) are deeply concerned about medicine shortages that impact patients and have been working closely with the Government and stakeholders to minimise supply issues throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The TGA currently has listed 47 medicines that are experiencing critical shortages, with many having limited availability.

CEO of Medicines Australia, Elizabeth de Somer, said the ongoing issues of medicine shortages formed a significant part of the recent Strategic Agreements with the Commonwealth Government.

“Every Australian should be able to receive the life changing medicines they are prescribed without delay.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how good health is fundamentally linked to community wellbeing and a thriving economy. Any interruptions to the supply of medicines could have critical impacts on Australians’ health and flow on effects for our community.

“The pandemic has highlighted the complexities and vulnerabilities in global medicine supply chains and has increased the focus on medicine shortages in Australia,” said Ms de Somer.

Marnie Peterson, CEO of the GBMA, said members of the medicines sector in Australia were increasing their medicine stockholdings and aim to introduce additional security in supply of medicines.

“Under new industry Strategic Agreements with the Federal Government, pharmaceutical companies will be empowered to build a buffer of four to six months’ worth of supply for many medicines that are susceptible to shortages.

“New stockholding requirements will help guard against future shortages of these medicines and ensure patients continue to have enough supply of essential treatments,” said Ms Peterson.

Both Ms de Somer and Ms Peterson said the Australian medicines industry has worked tirelessly to maintain consistent supplies, responded rapidly to unexpected increases in demand and continues to implement strategies wherever possible to minimise medicine supply issues.

“We have continued to work closely with the TGA throughout the pandemic and have strengthened the understanding and management of disruptions to medicines supplies. These lessons must inform the approach to managing shortages of all medicines into the future,” said Ms de Somer.

Medicines Australia and the GBMA were granted authorisation by the ACCC during the pandemic to enable a coordinated strategy in relation to the supply of essential medicines and related devices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ACCC authorisation for Medicines Australia and GBMA is due to expire on 30 September 2022 and both organisations are considering the potential need for the authorisation to continue. Read more about the authorisation on the Medicines Australia website.

<< Read previous: ACCC helps to protect Australians against medicine shortages caused by COVID-19


Media enquiries: 

Medicines Australia: Chrystianna Moran – 0424 995 118 / 

GBMA: Jannette Cotterell – 0419 204 059 / 

About Medicines Australia 

Medicines Australia leads the research-based medicines industry of Australia. Its members discover, develop and manufacture prescription pharmaceutical products, biotherapeutic products and vaccines that bring health, social and economic benefits to Australia. its members invest in Australian medical research and take local discoveries and developments to the world. 

About the GBMA 

The Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA) is the peak representative body of generic and biosimilar medicine suppliers in Australia. 

Its members ensure that all Australians are offered high quality generic and biosimilar medicines, whilst providing affordable community health outcomes that benefit all Australians.