Best governance practices in the medical supply chain

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we govern medical supply chains. During the pandemic, unprecedented joint procurement initiatives have been set up, such as the European Union’s joint procurement of personal protective equipment and
recently, vaccines, and the COVAX access to vaccines accelerator. Both comprise innovative collaborative mechanisms for vaccine
procurement and distribution, yet differ across membership, strategies and governance.

The EU’s procurement for innovation mechanism required novel approaches in contract development and management, plus new governing institutions (first RescEU, now HERA). The EU faced unique challenges with one of their co-funded vaccine developers that resulted in disputes over delivery volumes and schedules. Differences in health governance systems and vaccination programmes across the EU further result in cross-border disputes, export stops, and differences in coverage.

The COVAX initiative includes the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Gavi, the World Health Organization,
UNICEF, and governments, global health organizations, manufacturers, donors, and the private sector and donors. It was set up
for the purposes of economies of scale in procurement, economies of scope in kitting, packing and distribution, and global health equity. COVAX’ primary challenge is that contributing nations delimit their contribution to funding instead of vaccines.

This paper investigates the governance mechanisms of joint procurement initiatives in medical supply chains. It examines best
practices and challenges by contrasting ‘on the ground’ experiences from both the EU and the COVAX’ cross-border COVID-19
vaccine procurement and distribution. In addition, it synthesises input by experts from various institutions and Member States of
the two initiatives.
Event title2021 EURO HOpe mini-conference: Financial, Cash and Voucher Assistance in Humanitarian Supply Chains
Event typeConference
Conference number2021
LocationHelsinki, FinlandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics