COVID-19 allowed governments to critically examine the biopharma space to increase access to vaccines, but there's still a way to go, according to Monique Mansoura, PhD, MBA, executive director of global health security and biotechnology at the MITRE Corporation, at the International Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association’s annual meeting.
Monique Mansoura, PhD, MBA, executive director of global health security and biotechnology at the MITRE Corporation, explained the intricacies of how geopolitical issues, like the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation, impact pharmaceuticals and contribute to ongoing drug supply shortages.
The annual meeting of the International Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (IGBA) was held in Orlando, Florida, from February 15 to February 16.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to supply chain issues within the pharmaceutical industry, including biologics and biosimilars?
Mansoura: From my perspective, the most dramatic evidence of this intersection of COVID-19 and supply chains with medical pharmaceuticals, is the recognition of the criticality of these assets for national and economic security.
In large part, it's because of the access to diagnostics, therapeutics, and of course, vaccines that allowed in large part the restoration to some sort of new normal, if you will, of how we go about our daily lives—school, work, play. And it was, again, in large part access.
So, the intersection of national security with the biopharma medical supply ecosystem, industrial-based supply chain has been core to the work we've been doing at MITRE and the work that I've been doing in various capacities over the last 20-plus years.
Beside the COVID-19 pandemic, how have other geopolitical issues factored into drug supply shortages and government entities abilities to address them?
Mansoura: This heightened awareness of how important access to medicines, drugs, and again, what we would call national security assets, COVID-19 vaccines, has really been heightened by not only COVID-19, of course, but I think through the CHIPS [the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors] and Science Act, the broader discussions that are going on in the US and around the world about access to key technologies, whether it's semiconductors or AI [artificial intelligence] or autonomous vehicles, electric batteries, or Russian oil.
I think an awareness of the resiliency, the surety, and security of access to key assets like that, that really are critical to our national and economic security. I think many of us—as consumers but also as professionals in this space—have responsibilities to ensure sort of the surety and security of access to critical assets. There is clearly a shift in in attention to this through legislation, through policy, through executive orders, and through everyday public discourse. So, clearly heightened sensitivity.