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UPDATE 1-Roche ships supplies from Germany to plug UK tests shortfall

Thu, 8th Oct 2020 18:27

(Adds Roche comment)

ZURICH, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Swiss drugs and diagnostics group
Roche is shipping supplies from Germany to help
Britain's National Health Service (NHS) fill gaps caused by a
logistics glitch at a Roche warehouse in southern England, it
said on Thursday.

Roche, a main supplier of COVID-19 and other diagnostic
tests to the NHS, told UK customers on Wednesday that a switch
from an old warehouse to a new automated distribution centre had
caused an unforeseen technical issue that hit processing
capacity.

"We are confident that the plans we have put in place will
deliver significant improvements by the weekend to the supply of
the tests affected by these logistical issues," Roche said on
Thursday, reiterating its timetable from Wednesday.

"These plans include the introduction of an additional shift
in the warehouse and the temporary direct shipment to customers
in the UK and Ireland from our warehouse in Mannheim, Germany,"
a spokesman said by email.

The NHS said on Wednesday it was made aware of a likely
shortage of reagent supplied by Roche Diagnostics Ltd caused by
issues in its supply chain.

Experts said the supply disruption was affecting a range of
tests including for magnesium levels and other materials such as
supplies for blood gas analysers which are crucial for the
treatment of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.

Roche has said the issue affected only the UK and Ireland
and that the glitch had not affected its ability to supply
COVID-19 tests in the UK.

Roche diabetes care products are not affected as they use a
separate warehouse in Bedfordshire, a spokesman said.
(Reporting by Paul Arnold, Writing by Michael Shields, Editing
by Mark Potter, Kirsten Donovan)

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