Shipping Costs for Generics, Biosimilars Rise Due to COVID-19

The Association of Accessible Medicines (AAM), which represents generic-drug and biosimilar manufacturers, has released a survey of AAM members indicating that the shipping of pharmaceuticals to the US has risen 224% as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to the survey, travel and transport costs of generic and biosimilar drugs to the US have risen 224%, on average, with at least one manufacturer reporting as much as a 413% increase in shipping expenses compared to the same costs before the COVID-19 outbreak. Generic drugs account for approximately 90% of all prescriptions dispensed in the US, according to the AAM.

“The global pharmaceutical ecosystem is built on a highly complex supply chain,” said Jeff Francer, interim CEO of the AAM, in an April 30, 2020 statement. “Despite serious challenges and increased costs in transporting needed medicines, manufacturers of generic and biosimilar medicines continued to deliver for America’s patients. However, this ongoing crisis illustrates the importance of developing new strategies and policies that enhance the pharmaceutical supply chain in the US and increase our nation’s self-sufficiency.”

The AAM says that the increased costs are associated with a reduction in airline flights and a corresponding reduction in available cargo capacity as a result of the restrictions placed on international air travel resulting from COVID-19. AAM says government-mandated work-from- home orders, along with trade and export restrictions, have also added to supply issues.  

Source: Association of Accessible Medicines

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