Many life saving medicines (or active substances used to produce life saving medicines) are now sourced entirely outside of the UK or even the European Union. Some medicines are sourced in countries that have uncertain political and regulatory systems or may be prone to natural disaster. As the growth in globalised manufacturing continues to grow, so does the chance that the supply chain of essential medicines will be disrupted.
We work with The Department of Health to procure and manage an Essential Medicines Buffer Stock to ensure that a stockpile of around 300 different essential medicines is maintained by UK wholesalers of medicine that could satisfy the healthcare needs of the UK in the event that the supply chain is disrupted.
The stock is located and stored by 28 suppliers at 38 storage sites across the UK. In the event of a UK shortage, contractors can be directed to buy back all or some of the stock they hold and release it through the usual routes across the UK. The stock is subject to the individual contractor's internal audits in addition to an audit carried out by the NHS Business Authority on behalf of the Department of Health at least once each year.