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This report is based on a one-day workshop that considered how governments can build pharmaceutical resilience to improve their responses to high-impact outbreaks of infectious disease.
An effective response to outbreaks of serious infection requires the use of pharmaceutical countermeasures such as antibiotics and antivirals. ‘Pharmaceutical resilience’ is the principle of ensuring we have access to countermeasures when they are needed. At present, pharmaceutical resilience is assured by maintaining large stockpiles of drugs.
This is expensive, but buying pharmaceuticals at times of heightened threat is not a viable alternative, as global demand can limit supply. Many of the precursors for these drugs are also produced in limited amounts. New technology could offer opportunities in this area. Advances in biotechnology could increase flexibility and productivity. More effective smaller-scale production facilities could enable production on increasingly local levels. In the longer-term, synthetic biology has the potential to offer massive gains to pharmaceutical resilience.