Supply of drugs for COVID-19 therapy
The Federal Government and the Federal Provinces have agreed on a new distribution scheme for COVID-19 therapy-relevant medicines, ensuring the best possible supply for Austrian hospitals: In each federal province there will be a central COVID-19 pharmacy, which will function as a so-called "single point of communication" (SPOC).
In future, these pharmacies will be used both to survey the demand for COVID-19 therapy-relevant drugs and to distribute them to hospitals in the respective federal province.
At this level, the medical coordinators define the total requirement on the basis of the number of COVID-19 patients cared for in hospitals or intensive care units. This number is reported to the respective COVID-19 pharmacies on a given nationwide deadline.
These take over the orders for their federal province and receive weekly deliveries of the federal state quota directly from pharmaceutical companies or the wholesale trade. A dynamic allocation key, which is based on the COVID-19 patients cared for in the respective hospital, is used for the regional distribution of the drugs to the hospitals.
For specific programmes in COVID-19 therapy, the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG) coordinates central distribution via the federal logistics centre.
For example, 66,000 film-coated tablets containing the active ingredient hydroxychloroquine, which were delivered to Austria as part of the global Novartis/Sandoz Donation Program, are delivered to COVID-19 pharmacies in the federal provinces and distributed to the hospitals according to the scheme mentioned above.
Conversely, COVID-19 pharmacies report on any demand for medicines not approved in Austria to the BASG, which reviews and initiates further steps, such as issuing import license for medicinal products.