Friday, 19 June 2009 14:03
Commenting on the World Health Organisation's decision to raise its global pandemic alert level to Phase 6 due to the global spread of the novel H1N1 influenza strain, Acting Director General Michael D. Boyd of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), of which the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) is a member, said:
"Our members are better prepared than ever to face a pandemic influenza threat. Vaccine makers are ready to start producing novel H1N1 vaccines as soon as requested, and are discussing with WHO measures to help ensure broad access to them. In addition, antiviral manufacturers have provided WHO with stockpiles that have already been distributed to countries in need and are now replenishing those stockpiles. Looking at the broader implications of a pandemic, extensive plans have been made to ensure that companies can continue to produce and distribute essential medicines of all kinds during an influenza pandemic."
When the novel H1N1 outbreak began, vaccine and pharmaceutical manufacturers began their own internal preparations to respond to the situation. Measures undertaken included preparing to produce a targeted novel H1N1 vaccine and increasing the manufacture of anti-virals. In addition, the IFPMA has been in close contact with the WHO to facilitate timely technical preparations for vaccine production.
Pharmaceutical companies have also worked hard to put in place business continuity plans to ensure that they are able to maintain production and distribution of essential medicines during a possible influenza pandemic.
They are committed to playing their part in protecting communities around the world against this pandemic influenza threat and will continue to work closely with the WHO to address different aspects of this serious public health challenge.
The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association