The gaps and bottlenecks related to production and deliveries of critical COVID-19 related public health and medical goods and services have highlighted weaknesses and vulnerabilities in medical supply chains. There is currently no global mechanism effectively facilitating the flow of raw material, intermediate and finished goods and services through the public health supply chain, needed for the response to COVID-19 and other public health emergencies. Ad hoc responses by countries, industry, and non-governmental organizations have shown the benefits of pairing needs with idle production capacity; identifying, mitigating, and resolving bottlenecks in public health and medical supply chains; and sharing information for better demand and supply forecast.
A sufficient, steady global supply of safe, effective, quality-assured products and materials during international public health emergencies could improve equitable access to affordable vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and services. A global clearinghouse could allow suppliers and procurers to meet and negotiate arms-length agreements and for donor organizations and recipient countries to access the products and services necessary to respond to public health emergencies, building on lessons learnt from multilateral institutions and linking existing/regional platforms.
Participants at the September 2022 Global Action Plan Ministerial decided to establish an implementation group comprising of countries, relevant multinational and non-governmental institutions to determine an appropriate mechanism to facilitate supply chains during pandemics. This mechanism will include establishment of a global clearinghouse for COVID-19 medical and other pandemic response products and services with a mandate to coordinate with supply chain mechanisms among other functions. The group will first consult stakeholders for practicality, scope, and willingness to participate and identify functions of the clearinghouse during non-pandemic times. Based on stakeholder responses, GAP partners will proceed with developing a comprehensive plan to address essential functions: including, but not limited to, legal (including trade, regulatory, certification/standards issues, and IP protections), equity and governance issues, monitoring and evaluation metrics, and milestones.