Drug shortage is a challenge beyond regional borders. It has become a global issue since 2011. Several reasons can account for it:
- Health insurance coverage expands in developing countries. Drug demands thus grow much faster than production.
- Raw material price increases, so do the costs for production and labor, leading to cost hike of active pharmaceutical ingredients and preparations.
- Cost of quality audit increases. Due to global harmonization of pharmaceutical regulation and market circulation, governments are now requesting quality improvements, resulting in some temporary production shut-downs.
- Exchange rates float. Competitions between economic leagues cause the fluctuation of exchange rates and influence costs of imports and exports.
- Last but not the least, when the medical costs keep growing in developed countries, generic drug prices are then forced to go lower, which leads to the fact that manufacturers refuse to develop unprofitable products.
Taiwan Pharmaceuticals Spare No Efforts to Participate in International Community
Taiwan is the third in East Asia who has become a member of PIC/s GMP (Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme) since 2013. Taiwan is also the 10th national regulatory body to join the ICH (The International Council for Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use), which means the world recognizes Taiwan’s efforts into drug quality. Based on the facts of high quality talents, relatively lower labor costs and modern automated factories, Taiwan can provide higher quality generic drugs when the drugs are in short supply. Of all the drugs that are used in the National Health Insurance scheme, 75% are supplied by local manufacturers. More than half of Taiwan pharmaceuticals can swim the tide. It proves that Taiwan pharmaceuticals can do their part for supplying high quality drugs and make changes to the drug shortage issues.
Taiwan Can Take a Place on the Macromolecular Drug Stage
Taiwan has proved outstanding in research and production of macromolecular drugs and vaccines. Though vaccination is clearly vital to public health, during 2018-2019, when the flu swept East Asia, Taiwan developed influenza split virus vaccine has been proved that the protection has been 3-4 times better than other vaccines. The world will then be offered with a stronger option through technology transfer and mass production. Taiwan pharmaceuticals already have a major presence in the macromolecular drug and biosimilars market. A number of productions are now ready to be release in main markets. Among them, the intravenous infusion Ibalizumab produced by TaiMed biologics has become the last line of defense against multi-drug resistant strains when treated HIV.
Democratic Taiwan Can Help
Either less populated, or low medical coverage, market for high quality drugs is not profitable enough in developing or undeveloped countries. Drugs manufactured in Taiwan are at lower costs and quality competitive. Whenever Taiwan medical service teams deliver local assistance, Taiwan pharmaceuticals also make humanitarian commitment and provide the medicine in demand. Taiwan has always been an active world citizen.
Taiwan is One Answer to Drug Shortage
Drugs play a vital role in public health. Both public and private sectors in Taiwan have voluntarily participated in international communities. Besides PIC/s GMP and ICH memberships, Taiwan has made efforts into global affairs, humanitarian aids and harmonization of pharmaceutical regulation. While drug shortage has become a global issue, Taiwan is willing to collaborate with the world, produce high quality generic drugs and do our part for global public health.