Multi-winner Tenders

When multiple manufacturers supply a given medicine, there is greater protection against a shortage. In the event of a supply disruption in a single-winner contract, other manufacturers may not be able to ramp up production quickly enough to counteract a shortage. In some cases, other manufacturers may have discontinued production or let regulatory approvals lapse in certain markets, creating substantial delays in meeting supply needs. A case-by-case analysis of the product and market could be done to determine how many manufacturers should supply a given medicine for the best balance of value and supply security.

Extended Lead Times

The time between the award of a procurement contract and when the manufacturer must begin to supply a product is often shorter than the time it takes for a manufacturer to ramp up production. To meet the contract requirements, manufacturers often hold stock in anticipation of such scenarios. If a manufacturer holding stock is not awarded the contract, the product can be wasted. This process creates unnecessary additional costs. Procurement bodies could significantly reduce waste and improve efficiency by extending lead times and creating an environment of greater predictability for manufacturers.

Proportionate Penalties

Most procurement contracts include penalties for failure to supply the awarded medicine. When these penalties are disproportionately high, manufacturers may choose not to compete in a tender because of the excessive financial liability. Penalties should be proportionate to the contract value to ensure robust competition.

Procurement Timing

Procurement processes are generally concentrated in the first few months of the year, creating a challenging situation for manufacturers to predict the products and volumes they will need to supply. If procurement processes were spread throughout the year, manufacturers could more effectively plan supply, reducing the risk of shortages. The length of procurement awards also differs, which can further compound lack of predictability.

Predictability of Supply

Manufacturing medicine is a complex process that requires an ample supply of raw material and excipients, time for manufacturing and packaging, and availability of human resources. Therefore, it's important for procurement-awarding bodies to provide manufacturers with accurate estimates of the volumes to be supplied, including minimum and maximum volume caps. This allows manufacturers to plan their operations and ensure they can produce enough medicine to meet demand.