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Accord Healthcare addresses shortages of critical ventilator medicines for COVID-19 patients

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced yesterday that the UK’s supplies of the vital muscle relaxant medicines (atracurium and cisatracurium) used in patients on mechanical ventilators will be exhausted in the next few days1. Accord Healthcare is one of the UK’s major suppliers of vital medicines (including cisatracurium) and has already stepped up the production and increased pipeline supply, which should be arriving shortly into UK hospitals to help meet this urgent need.

This surge in demand was anticipated by Accord when the COVID-19 pandemic first emerged, who took the initiative by developing a list of medicines that would be in high demand during the pandemic, alongside a supply and demand epidemiological forecast model. Accord’s model has been shared with the NHS and a new cross-industry collaboration led by Medicines for Europe, of which Accord is a proud and active partner. The aim of this new Medicines for Europe collaboration is to enable industry participants to work closely with one-another, the European Commission and the European Medicines Agency and all countries of Europe to optimise supply for patients.

“Our immediate needs are many and various, not least of which is the supply of vital medicines for use in patients with breathing difficulties and with whom we need to use ventilators. The ICU team needs to focus on caring for our sick patients, not the medicine supply, so Accord’s ability to deliver vital ICU medicines at our point of need during this pandemic is very reassuring,” Professor Steve Davies, Consultant Physician, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. 

Over the past two months, Accord has made several significant decisions in terms of its own manufacture and supply of vital COVID-19 medicines used in the intensive care unit (ICU), including, critically, cisatracurium. These decisions were based on its own forecast model developed when the COVID-19 pandemic first emerged. The model was able to predict the likelihood and timing of drug shortages and requirements across the EU, which in turn enabled Accord to increase the production of these vital medicines in advance of when they were needed most.

“In response to growing UK and global demand for vital COVID-19 drugs, including ICU medicines like cisatracurium, midazolam and paracetamol, we are working closely with regulatory agencies to accelerate approval for a large new manufacturing facility that can further increase output of these medicines. This new Intas group facility (of which Accord is a part) will be one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturing sites in Asia and will be crucial for the continued global supply of the critical medicines and products needed to support the fight against COVID-19,” says Tony Cordrey, VP Operations, Accord Healthcare.

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Last Updated: 17-Apr-2020