Analysing the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Medical Supply Chains in Commonwealth Countries


Badri Narayanan Gopalakrishnan
Brendan Vickers
Salamat Ali


This study analyses the supply chains for medical goods across the Commonwealth countries.
It assesses trade flows related to the health sector and, more specifically, import and export data
for essential COVID-19 medical supplies. It also explores supply chain disruptions (trade interruptions,
changes in consumption and tariffs related to imports) caused in the wake of COVID-
19. Based on the analysis and key findings, it proposes policy changes and recommendations to
increase the resilience of these supply chains, to protect them from such disruptions.
The analysis finds that the global production and trade in COVID-19-related medical goods is
highly concentrated. The European Union and the United States monopolise the production of
high-tech equipment such as ventilators and oxygen therapy equipment, while China is a leading
supplier of personal protective equipment (PPE). Intra-Commonwealth trade in medical supplies
is relatively small, with exports mainly dominated by the developed countries and imports by
large developing countries. The analysis also finds that export restrictions and high tariffs in many
member countries are hampering the trade in medical supplies, and hence reducing its resilience
to major shocks such as COVID-19.



24 February 2022

Online ISSN