January 10, 2022 by Ronald Piervincenzi
The COVID-19 pandemic made the last year both an extraordinary and challenging time to work in health care. Development, distribution and administration of new vaccines, treatments and preventatives moved at a pace never before experienced. Pharmacists and other health care practitioners were called to the front lines of a mass vaccination effort, working to balance safety, speed and a plethora of daily demands in caring for patients and working to save countless lives. Manufacturers, regulators, pharmacists and other care providers demonstrated how cross-sector collaboration could rapidly transform cutting-edge innovation into the new standard of care, including an expanding scope of practice for many pharmacists.
Supply chains continue to be challenged, and while medicine supply chains proved more resilient than those of many other products, the pandemic made obvious long-standing weak spots that must be addressed. Much of the work now taking center stage is focused on applying lessons learned from the pandemic to bolster resilience in the medicine supply chain, prepare for future public health crises, and help ensure the quality and benefit of emerging innovations.
The organization I’ve been proud to lead since 2014 — the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) — plays a role in almost every stage of the medicines supply chain, in collaboration with our scientific expert volunteers and other stakeholders. Through our public quality standards and related programs, we help governments, manufacturers and health care practitioners increase the availability of safe, quality medicines that support public trust throughout the world. In fact, quality standards are a big reason why patients can get a prescription filled at their neighborhood pharmacy and trust that the medicine received will be safe and work as it should. Together with stakeholders across the health care ecosystem, USP works to support trust in medicines to improve global health. We believe the areas of focus with the greatest impact include our shared efforts to support biopharmaceutical innovation, foster adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies, and strengthen supply chain resilience to expand the supply of quality medicines worldwide.