European community pharmacists welcome the European Commission Communication on medicines shortages
European community pharmacists welcome the Communication on medicines shortages adopted today by the European Commission.
PGEU has long been calling for bold and ambitious measures to address the problem of medicines shortages. We hope that the initiatives outlined in the Communication will help to avoid another period of severe medicine shortages like the one we experienced with antibiotics last winter which could compromise not only public health but also citizens’ trust.
PGEU supports the Commission’s call to Member States to monitor and enforce companies’ obligations to supply the market with adequate quantities of medicines, the creation of a Union list of critical medicines and of a voluntary solidarity mechanism. We also support the effective use of regulatory flexibilities to mitigate shortages, the strengthening of EU coordination, the improvement of demand and supply forecasting as well as the proposed long-term measures to enhance supply security.
Regarding the common strategic approach to stockpiling, it should be guaranteed that stocks will not be to such an extent as to jeopardize the general supply of medicines, nor they should generate unnecessary waste. This can be addressed by ensuring progressive requirements for rolling buffer stocks, allowing for these to be built over time rather than all at once and through proper stock management.
PGEU President Koen Straetmans said: “We welcome the short- and long-term measures proposed today by the European Commission to address medicine shortages. PGEU’s annual survey confirms that shortages exist in all EU countries across all types of medicines, causing detriment to patients’ health, waste of resources and frustration. Every day, we spend hours managing shortages and finding solutions to guarantee continuity of treatment for our patients. We need more timely and effective communication on shortages to allow us to better manage patient care, reassure patients and promote the safe and rational use of medicines. As community pharmacists we stand ready to use our knowledge and experience to help mitigate medicine shortages in every way we can, including through compounding pharmaceutical preparations when authorized to do so by the national authorities.”