Swiss drugmaker Roche today called on governments around the world to work closely with the pharmaceutical industry to meet demand for medicine and tests during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roche also said it is working “around the clock” to increase availability of its COVID-19 tests and is speeding up production of Actemra, a drug that could be used to treat patients with coronavirus. Actemra is currently in a Phase 3 study to test its safety and efficacy in hospitalized adult patients with pneumonia caused by the virus.
Roche said its COVID-19 tests, which received emergency authorization in the U.S. earlier this month, will be shipped from Roche’s production sites to locations where “appropriate infrastructure is in place and testing can begin without delay.” The tests are also now available in countries accepting the European Union’s CE mark.
While the company said it can supply millions of COVID-19 tests per month at its current maximum production rate, it strongly advises limiting their use to patients with symptoms of the disease to safeguard supply.
“Roche is committed to doing all we can to ensure adequate supply of our medicines and tests during this pandemic, but we cannot do it alone,” the company said.
Governments need to work with the pharmaceutical industry to keep manufacturing and supply running, Roche said.
They should consider adjusting regulations on packages, reviews, and customs to expedite delivery of urgently needed medical supplies. Governments should also work together to balance global needs, the company said.
For now, Roche is experiencing limited disruption to its ability to deliver medicines amid the pandemic, it said.