Pandemic Intensifies USP’s Focus on Supply Chain Vulnerabilities and Vaccine Development

Improving understanding of supply chain vulnerabilities and providing support for vaccine development and delivery are two focal points of the USP effort to help address the pressing challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore regarding the availability of quality medicines.

In its efforts to increase the understanding of the supply chain vulnerabilities, USP has been engaged in an ambitious medicine mapping project that will encompass hundreds of millions of data points across ten different data sets derived from both public and propriety sources, including the informative data on the demand for USP reference standards.

The goal is to improve the understanding of the complex linkages and create transparency about how medicines flow around the world so that the vulnerabilities can be better characterized, predicted and mitigated.  

To help improve vaccine access while safeguarding quality, USP is focused on enhancing its physical and documentary standards that support vaccine manufacturing development, scale-up and delivery, and providing related technical assistance and educational opportunities in a variety of forms.

Among the steps taken is the launching in mid-2020 of a Vaccines Advisory Group, comprised of ten experts from around the world, to follow trends and help in refining and prioritizing its efforts and strengthening stakeholder engagement.

The fall 2020 PDA pharmacopeia conference provided USP a chance to shed light on these two important facets of its pandemic response efforts.

At the opening session of the conference, USP CEO Ron Piervincenzi focused on the supply chain vulnerabilities and USP’s engagement in understanding and addressing them in his review of his organization’s pandemic response.

On the second day of the conference, Science & Standards Liaison Sarita Acharya reviewed USP’s multifaceted efforts to support COVID vaccine and treatment development and distribution and how these fit in with its ongoing strategic plan for strengthening its engagement in the biologics arena.  

Panel discussions followed on the conference’s third day further exploring the pandemic’s impact on pharmacopeia, industry, and regulatory agency operations and how they communicate and collaborate. [See IPQ December 23, 2020 for a review of the panel discussions. For more on USP’s evolving biologics strategy, see IPQ October 27, 2019 and November 9, 2020.]

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