- Sandoz, the generics unit of Swiss pharma giant Novartis, said Wednesday it will keep prices stable on medicines considered essential for treating coronavirus-infected patients.
- The decision comes amid rising global anxiety over the virus named SARS-CoV-2, which, as of Feb. 24, had infected around 80,000 people across 29 countries. The Food and Drug Administration claims that virus-related drug shortages have yet to be reported, though they could arise due to disruptions in the global supply chain for medical products.
- "While we think we have solid levels of safety stock at my company, it is hard to predict how the situation will evolve further as the virus spreads to more and more countries," wrote Richard Saynor, CEO of Sandoz, in a Feb. 26 post to LinkedIn.
A Sandoz spokesperson confirmed to BioPharma Dive that the company conducted an internal assessment of its marketed products to come up with a list of "essential" drugs that could help patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. The list includes priority antibiotics, hospital care products and antivirals.
Sandoz drugs included in price stability initiative
|Antibiotics||Hospital care products||Antivirals|
SOURCE: Company spokesperson
As for the price on these drugs, Sandoz will not increase list prices, decrease rebates or take "other actions that are in our control that will increase the cost of our commercial medications to healthcare systems," according to the spokesperson, who added that the company intends to keep prices stable throughout the coronavirus epidemic.
Much of the world's active pharmaceutical ingredients are manufactured in India and China. While acknowledging there's much uncertainty about how the virus will affect pharmaceutical supply chains, Saynor claims the geographic consolidation of essential medicines manufacturing is a cause for concern.
"[T]he real issue is not where producers are located, it is the extent to which they are all located in the same region," he wrote in the Feb. 26 post.
"While I believe that we need a coordinated, multi-stakeholder approach to address the topics of pricing pressures and supply reliability, I strongly feel the generics industry has a particular responsibility right now to ensure that patients can get the medicines they need," he added.