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Caution urged over DH plans for pandemic stockpile

Department of Health proposals to set up a buffer stock of essential medicines that could be used in a pandemic or other emergency have been met with caution by industry leaders.

Although experts supported the idea of a buffer stock in principle, they said the volumes of stocks the DH was asking for seemed very high.

The DH asked for expressions of interest from parties willing to arrange storage and management of the buffer, which would be owned by the DH.

Bharat Shah, managing director at Sigma Pharmaceuticals, said creating and managing the suggested stockpile could be difficult logistically. Production of such large volumes of the drugs could also have an impact on normal supply, he said.

Warwick Smith, director of the British Generic Manufacturers Association, said: “There should be no unintended disruption of the generic market or supply chain because of this.”

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