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Switzerland and US sign deal on pharmaceutical supply chain

The agreement comes as the complexities in global pharmaceutical supply chains increase, making them more burdensome to monitor. Keystone / Martin Ruetschi

US and Swiss authorities have agreed to share inspection documents on pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities in a move to improve efficiency and safety in the drug supply chain.

According to the Office of the US Trade Representative, the Good Manufacturing Practice Mutual Recognition Agreement signed on Thursday allows authorities from both countries to share documents from their routine inspections of pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, which will reduce unnecessary costs and duplication of efforts.

This agreement comes as the complexities of foreign production and sourcing in supply chains for medicine increase, making them more difficult and costly to monitor.

“This MRA will help streamline the movement of pharmaceutical goods and is a step in the right direction to create a safer, stronger, more reliable supply chain that minimizes drug shortages,” said Jayme White, deputy chief of the US trade office during the signing ceremony.

In a press release, the Swiss pharmaceutical industry association, Interpharma, welcomed the deal and said it was an “important success for Switzerland as a production hub and for security of supply” in the country. It added that this will not only reduce administrative hurdles but strengthen trade and the resilience of global supply. The agreement doesn’t change current drug approval rules.

After the European Union, the US is the second-most important trading partner for research-based pharmaceutical companies in Switzerland. In 2021, the US accounted for 26% of Swiss pharma exports (CHF109 billion) and 10% of imports.

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